Retired irrigation engineer says canal reconstruction complicated

Members of the Cache County Council and Logan Northern Canal President Keith Meikle have expressed concern about the planned canal restoration project being delayed. The project to restore the canal after a break caused a fatal landslide last summer may be delayed because the federal government has asked for a full environmental impact statement. Originally, it was believed the project would need only an environmental assessment. Meikle has said this means it could be five years before the project is completed and farmers and others are expected to be hurt by the delay.Retired irrigation engineer Jack Keller says it is no surprise to him that an environmental impact statement is required because the project has gone beyond repairing a ruptured canal.”When they went for the combining of the canals, which changes the point of diversion for the lower canal,” Keller explains, “it takes water out of the Logan River, the water that used to come down to the diversion below First Dam.”Keller says the project therefore becomes much more complex and affects more people.”It takes water out of the river,” he continues. “It takes water away from the power plant for the city. It takes water away from Utah State’s little power plant. It affects the water lab because they’re using the flow of water. It dries up some stream beds.”Keller says the decisions put them in a position where there are a lot more complicated issues involved so an environmental assessment would not suffice.

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