Call for help to determine the future of the Logan River

Logan River in commercial section downstream of Main Street. Photo by Darren Olsen.

LOGAN, UT – What do you want the Logan River to look like in the future? The Logan River Task Force has been working over the past 18 months to develop an overall approach for managing the Logan River. The approach is long range but implementation of the plan will begin this spring; the plan applies to the portion of Logan River from First Dam to Cutler Reservoir.

The Task Force plans to unveil the draft action plan and solicit comments from the community. A public meeting is scheduled for Thursday, February 11, 6-8pm at the Logan River Golf Course, 550 West 1000 South in Logan. This meeting will include presentations of the draft action plan and reviews of the current condition of the river, and will allow the public to ask questions and engage with local experts on the Task Force.

“We want to be sure that the Logan community has the opportunity to tell us what they want their river to look like in the future”, says Task Force Chairman, Frank Howe. The Task Force is developing a restoration plan that balances ecology with people’s social values for the river including public safety and property protection. “Yes, the river needs to convey flood water through town, but we also want the Logan River to be a place where people come to jog, or fish, or kayak, or watch birds, or just sit and enjoy the sound of the river,” Howe says.

Toward that end, the Task Force has developed a draft action plan with twenty indicators of river health, including factors which consider water flow in the river, channel and floodplain functions, riparian vegetation, fish and wildlife habitat, an expansion of recreation opportunities including improving trail continuity, and addressing a variety of private property concerns for those who own property along the river. The action plan will be the foundation for river restoration projects, and it will provide an approach to monitor long-term success.

The Task Force is composed of a group of about 30 professors, government officials, and interest group representatives. The group is helping to meet one of Logan Mayor Craig Petersen’s goals, which is to engage USU faculty and students in investigating projects of mutual interest to the City and the University. Mayor Petersen believes that, “in many areas, USU can make significant contributions to improving Logan City.  For this particular task, USU Faculty have especially relevant expertise to help us better-utilize Logan River.”

“We’re excited to be involved in a project that enables us to share our expertise with the community and involve our students in a real-life, hands-on learning experience,” says Chris Luecke, Dean of USU’s Quinney College of Natural Resources. “We welcome opportunities to partner with the community in conservation projects.”

Task Force accomplishments to date have included production of a riparian planting guide, produced by USU Forestry Extension. The guide has been distributed to residents who live along the river and will also be available at the February 11 public meeting. The Task Force also helped the City obtain a $600,000 grant from the Utah Division of Water Quality to be used for restoration work on the Logan River. Logan City is matching the grant by committing $400,000 to the project.

Logan City and the Task Force are working with BIO-WEST, a local environmental consulting firm, to develop the action plan and to design restoration concepts for the river. “BIO-WEST is honored to help Logan City and the Task Force with this important project. We are lucky to have a resource like the Logan River in our backyards. It’s such a gem and has potential to be much more of an asset and attraction to the community if we treat it correctly,” says BIO-WEST President, Darren Olsen.

An additional public meeting is planned for April 21, after strategies and preliminary design concepts have been developed by the BIO-WEST design team.

The Task Force and USU Forestry Extension are also offering a planting workshop for residents who live along the river. The planting workshop is scheduled for Saturday, April 23, with details to follow in a future announcement.

Other future tasks will include monitoring projects and seeking funding for additional restoration work and recreation improvements.

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