The First Draft

On October 12th Representative Lorie Fowlke (of Orem) released a first draft of possible legislation regarding the easement recognized in Conatser v. Johnson, the landmark decision by the Utah Supreme Court recognizing a public easement to utilize water by the touching of privately owned stream beds.   A meeting was held the following day with all stakeholders present to discuss the bill.  Representative Fowlke acknowledged that this was only an attempt to put the collective thoughts on paper, and it’s only a starting point working towards what will hopefully be a quality streambed bill this legislative session.

Some of the major issues discussed were that hunting was excluded as a legal recreational activity under the easement.  The language was sticky and many unexpected consequences could result.  It will definitely be re-worked, but hunting is still at danger of being excluded.

Portage was also discussed at length.  This draft of the bill allows for man-made obstacles to be portaged, but not natural obstacles.  This raised a question for boaters who encounter a fallen tree that was not there the day before; going back upstream isn’t an option.  The history of portage, being designed for natural obstacles was also raised, but Representative Fowlke raised concerns with that.  She stated she liked the idea of taking the river as you find it as a compromise with portage.

There was also proposed a mandatory $5 public access stamp for anyone who purchases a fishing or combination license to help offset costs associated with portage, and public access in general (IE- enforcement, public education, etc).  The DWR expressed concerns over the increase of costs for all, when only a small percentage will access these specific waters.  The DWR will be doing a survey with anglers to find out the public feeling.  Is it fair for a $1 increase for all anglers or should the small percentage of anglers who will utilize this easement have to foot the cost at a much larger price tag?  It’s certainly something to think about.

The meeting ended with the debate about what the streambed should be.  Landowners are asking for it to be wet boot.  And if not wet boot, wet boot plus 5 feet from the water.  Anglers and others are asking for the area within the ordinary high water mark.  This definition is consistent with other western states that have tackled this easement issue.  And it’s also easier to enforce than any of the other definitions.  This is the best definition for all involved.
There is a tour scheduled for next week with representatives, anglers, landowners, and the DWR to see first hand the issues involved in this legislation.  We’re hoping to show how cooperative easements have worked in many places already around the state.  We’re hoping this hands on experience will do good things for this legislation, as many of the representatives have not seen any of the places they are being asked to discuss.

Overall it was a good start to the bill.  A lot of language was taken from Ben Ferry’s bill HB 187 last year.  That was problematic for many, as that bill was just plain and simply a bad bill.  We are hopeful that we can get away from using that as a template, and just start new.  A sub-committee was formed and future meetings will be held to continue shaping this important legislation prior to the 2010 legislative session.

Draft PDF –>Fowlke Access Bill

2009 Summer Awareness Update

Round one is complete and over, things have settled down some BUT the fight is not over, actually far from it. The next step is going to be the toughest and we need to stick together once again! Round two will take place this fall….. NOT next year.

A few things you need to be aware of.

  • Currently meetings are being held with Representatives once a month. They include landowners/anglers/water users/etc. The purposes of these meetings are as follows; to hear all sides of the issues and allow open discussion with feedback for the intent on writing a new Bill that works for all interests. These meetings will continue through out the summer. So far [2] meetings have been held. Both outcomes were similar; it was an emotional session of arguments from both sides of the fence.
    • A few landowners’ issues that were brought to the table. Such as, but not limited to, water rights, trespassing, over harvest, fish stress [water temp], property value decrease, loitering, privacy, loss of property including damage.
    • Each case was soundly met with rebuttal. In most cases, it was clearly uneducated issues that needed to be brought to rest. Such as, but not limited to, property value has not decreased with recent data, water temps have not dropped below DWR standards for managing a fishery, land (streambed) is not being “taken” away by the government as it has always been the peoples, current laws already include trespass and property damage, under current law all citizens are able to use and/or recreate in and upon the water, etc. BUT I assure you, no minds were changed, even with facts.
  • Currently there are angler meetings being held once month. This purpose is to build open discussion created by current issues that arise during representative meetings. Also, to strategize a positive outcome with the current law by continuing education and raising awareness of sensitive stream access issues. Such as, but not limited to, easement use, recreational use, etiquette, property damage and trespass.
  • Please be aware that Ben Ferry is bringing another Bill to the table… yes, that’s right, again!

LAND OWNER/WATER USER CONFRONTAION

  • If you have had any problems regarding landowner harassment while obeying the law, please contact us immediately. Also, if you encounter any harassment please contact the police!!!
    • There have been many confrontations; all need to be documented in order to protect all parties involved. Currently there have been documented instances of hostile landowners [discharged firearm] as well as trespassing anglers whose gear was confiscated. Be careful and be smart. DO NOT engage in a disrespectful tone, avoid confrontations and walk away. This is a sensitive issue to many, emotions and passion tends to flare. This will not help anyone but it could harm the good everyone is trying to accomplish.
  • OBEY the LAW! Learn it, know it, live by it! There are NO excuses for trespassing or property damage! Please, please, please respect the landowners when recreating near their property line. If you think you’re too close to a dwelling, then perhaps you are. Don’t be afraid to move quickly pass and allow for a bit of solitude for everyone. Using the golden rule of “if you wouldn’t like it, then don’t do it” is always a good idea if faced with an access concern. Know before you go!

Lastly….

We need to hire a lobbyist….. A very well connected lobbyist (Hartley and Associates) will fight for the public’s right to fish Utah’s streams, but lobbyists don’t come cheap.  His fee is $30,000.00 for this year’s legislative session.   We only have about 14 days to raise the money and your money is NEEDED!  Times are tight for all of us folks, but the Farm Bureau is stacked with cash and they will be spending a LOT! The other side has hired a lobbyist already!! If you can spare ANY AMOUNT, please send a check.  If we fail to raise the needed amount, the money will be returned. Surely we can all skip a fast-food lunch or two and send in the savings.  There are 400,000 fishermen in Utah, please pass this on to all you know.  Just a few bucks from some of us would get the job done, please step up and help out.

Please note, the landowners have hired their guns and will not underestimate the people this next go-around. The legislature is not going to be giving us neither another sympathy vote nor the bad process vote. We need professional talent(s) AND a heavy backed grassroots effort to accomplish this enormous task we are all faced with. The ball is now rolling, we need to preserve our rights and stand-up against those those are trying to take them away! We learned in the first round not one single person is going to do it for us… it’s up to ALL of us, as a unified voice, to stand together to keep free water free.

Checks need to be made out to: Hartley & Associates.

Mail to:

Chris Barkey

14361 Lapis Drive

Draper, UT 84020

fishsnoop@gmail.com

If you have any question regarding payment please contact Chris Barkey

Please take a moment to remember why our freedom and our waters are so important to us, to our families, our communities and our country! There will always be those that will try to take this away and privatize water, we as water users, as citizens, can never let this happen. The “blue gold” belongs to the people and it’s up to the people to defend it.

Our hope is for an agreed outcome for a well-thought out common sense Bill which both sides of the fence have discussed in length and can live with.

Keep up the good fight!

Bryan Gregson

PDF Downloead Here –> June_memo_UWG

HB 187 ….DEFEATED TODAY….FINALLY!

After (3) substitutes Bills, (20) amendments, the Bill failed in the House, a 43-31vote today, March 9, 2009.

The public did the unthinkable, again. Not only did they sink the Bill the first go around, but they did it again for the second time today, 3/9/09. A great deal of determination, spirit and integrity stood up and brought down HB 187 AGAIN!!!! HB 187 has been defeated once and for all!

A heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who wrote their Representatives, called, lobbied, informed, spoke out, went with out sleep, work, food and fishing to fight for something we believe in…time and time again. Even though we encountered a few bumps in the road, we all stood together to see it through till the bitter end. Today our elected Representatives spoke on behalf of the people and once again, today, the people were heard! Everyone played a big roll in this victory, congratulations and bravo for sticking it out.

The next phase will be working to get a respectable Bill passed that meets on common ground, one that is reasonable to the Utah Supreme Court Ruling, and fair to all citizens. We must remain motivated and watchful in our attempt to protect our waters.  Value our freedom and civil rights by taking care of our resource for generations to come.

Link to final vote – http://le.utah.gov/~2009/status/hbillsta/hb0187s3.007h.txt

We have (2) more request.

1. Please write your Representative(s) and let them know how they did. We sent thousands of emails and they answered hundreds of our calls, we need to extend our hand and say thank you! They worked hard for us; let them know you appreciate it.

If you’re rep voted “yes,” it’s perfectly fair to ask them for an explanation, particularly if they went against something they said previously. It’s OK to call them on it so long as it’s done respectfully. It’s also good to point out anglers CAN and WILL work with landowners to find a permanent solution. We just need to be part of the process from the start. No more of this back-door, secret, “my way or the highway” stuff.

2. Please use our precious resource with respect, humility and pride. Pick up that trash, repair that broken fence, mend the relationships with landowners and respect private property. We will be looked at very closely this year, let make sure we show them we are Guardians of the water and Stewards of the land. This year it’s extremely important to abide by the law and make the effort to lend a hand to landowners. This is just as important as eliminating the Bill.

Thanks again everyone, it wasn’t easy and we appreciate your honest efforts. My hat it of to you all!!!! We all came together with a unified voice…. residents and non-residents alike, extraordinary work everyone!

Well done!

See you on the water!

HB 187 Circled AGAIN!!!

On Friday, 3/6/09 HB 187 was circled, yet again, for the 3rd time.

The House re-convenes on Monday 3/9/09 @ 9am for debate.

(Fast forward the first quarter)

Another list of rivers was added, for a grand total of (41). Representative’s Draxler’s amendment was shot down. Representative Powell spoke with passion, respect and duty to the people of Utah, and it is very clear our voices were heard. Please let Powell and Draxler know we also hear them, loud and clear; please pass along a thank you and positive email/phone call.  Let them know we (public) stand behind them, as they stand behind us (public).

Brief recap of Representative Powell’s sincere honest speech

  • Navigability standard in the bill is “erroneous, it is irrelevant, it is redundant and it is not well defined in the Bill”
  • More time needed to “Listen, deliberate, and draft” and repeat.
  • Huge Policy Change of a Century if Representative Draxler’s amendment fails.
  • “Tourism industry is threatened to take a big hit by this Bill”
  • “Cried when he read emails from people who got involved for the first time and because of their voice, this bill was voted down and here we are voting for it again”.
  • “The Bill cannot go forward without Draxler’s Amendment.”
  • The constituents are now the special interest groups.

RIGHT NOW

  • CALL YOUR REPESENTAIVE
  • CALL THE GOVERNORS OFFICE!! – This is important. Leave a message “I’m against HB 187”.
    • 801-538-1000
      800-705-2464
      Fax 801-538-1528

Please note – BE CIVIL AND RESPECTFUL – While we all recognize that this is a “hot button” topic, it is important to remember that we are trying to acquire allies; not enemies. There are a variety of ways to convey your concerns about an issue without resorting to demeaning, crude, or offensive tones.

Right Now!!!!


CALL and EMAIL your Representative…… AND GET 5 OF YOUR FRIENDS INVOLVED!!!!!

The Floor vote could happen this afternoon – Friday 6, 2009.

IF you have not already contacted your Representative, RIGHT NOW is the time to do so.

We beat this once before, we can do it again.

Now is the time to push, this is the final countdown. We literally have hours, contact your representatives now!

They need to hear from fresh voices

1. Tell them you just caught wind of this
2. You have not contacted them before
3. This process and lack of public input is unacceptable
4. The Bill is Confusion
5. ASK questions…. questions are the answer.

Take action now!!

NO!!!!! HOLD THE PRESS!!!!

HB 187 is BACK!!!

In an unfortunate and dramatic turn of events, Representative Ferry pulled HB 187 out for a “motion to reconsider”, the motion was GRANTED. Representative Draxler made the motion, and now HB 187 has come back to life. An amendment(s) is going to be made to the Bill in order to sway votes, which we find interesting as Rep. Ferry stated yesterday, “This amendment is totally unacceptable”.

HB 187 is now “circled” (on hold) and back on the calendar. The Bill can be back on the floor as early as tomorrow morning, March 5, 2009.

We need people at the Capitol Building tomorrow morning @9 am. (Thursday 3/5/09 and if need be on Friday 3/6/09) If you can make it, come join us.

We need you to CALL and EMAIL your Representative RIGHT NOW!! Tell them to Vote NO on HB 187!

It’s down to the wire; we need your support to kill this bill. This cannot and will not happen without your voice!

This coincides with the standing belief that the overall PROCESS of this Bill is flawed!! This last ditch effort is unwarranted and honestly, very disrespectful to the public; we should not stand for this type of behavior. Let them know where you stand (in a respectful way) and tell them that this is unacceptable.

Here is the second substitute HB 187  —http://le.utah.gov/~2009/bills/hbillint/hb0187s02.htm

HOT OFF THE PRESS HB 187 is defeated!!

Breaking news — The House of Representatives voted the Bill down today 34 – 41!!!!

The public did the unthinkable, sunk HB 187! A big thanks to everyone who wrote their Representatives, called, lobbied, informed, spoke out, went with out sleep, work, food and fishing to fight for something we believe in. Today the people spoke, and today the people were heard!

We are proud of each of you, residents and non-residents alike. Everyone played a big roll in this victory. We all came together with a unified voice…. fantastic work everyone! Wow, unbelievable.

Link to final vote — http://le.utah.gov/~2009/status/hbillsta/hb0187s2.004h.txt

We have (2) more request.

1.      Please write your Representative(s) and let them know how they did. We sent thousands of emails and they answered hundreds of our calls, we need to extend our hand and say thank you! They worked hard for us; let them know you appreciate it.

If you’re rep voted “yes,” it’s perfectly fair to ask them for an explanation, particularly if they went against something they said previously. It’s Ok to call them on it so long as it’s done respectfully. It’s also good to point out anglers CAN and WILL work with landowners to find a permanent solution. We just need to be part of the process from the start. No more of this back-door, secret, “my way or the highway” stuff.

2.      Please use our precious resource with respect, humility and pride. Pick up that trash, repair that broken fence, mend the relationships with landowners and respect private property. We will be looked at very closely this year, let make sure we show them we are Guardians of the water and Stewards of the land.

Thanks again everyone, it wasn’t easy and we appreciate your honest efforts. Well played.

See you on the water,

Bryan Gregson

LATEST EVENTS – 2/28/09

We’ve been lobbying at the capitol all week, thanks to everyone who has
taken the time to do so!! It has been another asset in this long-winded
battle and we gained significant momentum in doing so. We need to keep the
pressure on, especially this week.

• Rep. Ferry circled the bill (HB 187) – The bill is “on hold” –> http://le.utah.gov/~2009/status/hbillsta/hb0187s01.htm<http://le.utah.gov/%7E2009/status/hbillsta/hb0187s01.htm>
• There was a meeting Friday with Representative Ferry — A number of angling interests, URC, DWR, landowners, Farm Bureau, Real Estate, Attorney Generals office, a “listener” from the Governor’s office, half dozen Representatives, etc.

• Nothing was offered, no compromise took place. All angling interests spoke with a unified voice: The *process* was flawed.
• Rep. McIff tried to ram home that the Conatser, JJNP and most every other Utah Court cases that Conatser ruled on are “not accurate.” And we were told, in my opinion, misleading information.

• Rep. Ferry was surprised to hear that the Air boat, waterfowl, duck guys,etc, are upset – “Why are they upset? …It has nothing to do with them,” he said.
• They believe “navigable,” NOT easement, is the issue. However, “easement” IS THE issue!

In a nutshell –

Rep. Ferry did not offer anything other than the HB 187 as is. I believe that Representative Ferry might use this meeting against us/you/public:

(a) If nobody attended, it would have been twisted into an unwillingness to cooperate or communicate.
(b) Since we went and did not agree to HIS terms, we will be viewed as uncooperative.
It’s not that we didn’t listen to the other side or add genuine dialogue, but the bill remains the same, which is clearly unacceptable.

We all know something needs to be done. BUT right now, this late in the game, is not the time to scramble to get “something” passed. No band-aid is big enough to fix this. Observing the dozen amendments provides insight that the Representatives feel there are many significant flaws with HB187, as well as the fact that it’s just plain confusing.

We need to remain steadfast because these issues are too important to speed through or attempt to patch. This goes right back to the point about the entire “process”…Is this how important issues should be approached?

I must say that everyone should know that the DWR stood up for facts and we should all send them a note thanking them. I know lately the DWR in the public’s eye, unfortunately, has been a sore subject. Their actions and words have not always echoed one another, and it created tension. The public’s prompt heavy-handed response (to past weeks’ statements and articles) struck deep I’m sure. BUT the public should be just as quick to respond in a positive way, encouraging them if they stand on the foundation they represent, the public will stand behind them. It’s my humble opinion that a sincere thank you is a good gesture to show that the public is fair and recognizes integrity. I’m not suggesting they spoke out against HB 187 directly, but they voiced out loud and spoke facts, whether it was for one side or the other. And in this case it’s a positive thing for water users, as this is all we have, the fact and the honesty… *”It would be an enforcement nightmare,” said Mr. Karpowitz.*.

Bottom line – we are where we are today because of the masses, the public. If we lose momentum, interest and do not maintain pressure we will ultimately lose. We all need to keep going; the public as a whole cannot continue this without the masses. If you think that this Bill is dead, I assure you that the public has not won anything. The reality of this bill passing has not changed.

Get informed, knowledge is power, questions are the answer.

ATTN: HB 187 House Floor Vote This Week!

House vote as early as Wednesday Feb.25!!Act now!

ACTION! –

· Call, Visit and Email your Representative now!!!! Time is ticking; we have only a few days before the House votes on this important issue! Make your voice be heard! Take action now –> LINK

· Tell everyone you know to speak out. Motivate them to get involved. It’s going to take a joint effort to stand against this bill, the more, the merrier.

WEB WATCH!

· Web Watch. The bill is going to move quickly so keep a sharp eye on the progress.

· Floor –>http://www.le.state.ut.us/~2009/bills/static/HB0187m.html

Take action now, locate your representative –https://utahwaterguardians.wordpress.com/action/

——-
ALSO


“Action Alert” email info

If any of you would like to be included in the bulk “action alert” emails. Please contact me. We are going momentum and need to better organize ourselves.

Title the subject line “GROUP”
Send your name and where you heard about this.

Please contact us at
utahwaterguardians@gmail.com

FYI – many of the small recreational grassroots groups (not just fishing) are talking about putting together a unified “Political Action Committee”. Its just discussion right now but we want to put it out there for those that have an interest.

ALERT – Committee Tomorrow!!!!

HB187 is up for committee consideration tomorrow: 2/20/09

Our Representatives will vote on whether this bill moves on. We need a strong showing of support. EVERYONE needs to be there.

This is more important than the rally!!!!

WHEN: Friday 2/20/09 @ 2:00pm

WHERE: Capitol Building – Room 445

Link– http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2009&Com=HSTNAE

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