Logan city has received a $600,000 grant for restoration work along the Logan River and is putting together a task force of experts to assist in the matter, according to city officials.
“Most of the work we did on the river was focused on flood control,” said Logan Mayor Craig Petersen. “Now, we’re going to go back and take a look at some of the aspects of the river as a habitat and such.”
Petersen said the city is providing an estimated $400,000 initial match to develop the planned restoration and will be looking into additional grants to fund projects.
The city was involved in a flood mitigation project over the last year, funded by the Emergency Watershed Program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, that generated a lot of public comment and criticism.
Lance Houser, Logan’s assistant city engineer, maintains the project was not intended for restoration, but to focus on protecting homes, lives and property from flood damage.
Now that the project is about to wrap up, the city is able to look at the river from a restoration perspective, Houser said.
“What we can do to try to restore the Logan River to the gem it should be, not just as a flood issue, but from a full, ‘This is a resource that’s extremely valuable, how can we maximize its value from a holistic picture?’” he said.
The $600,000 grant is part of the restoration money paid by Chevron Pipe Line Co. in restitution for a 20,000-gallon diesel leak at Willard Bay in March 2013.
A committee for the Utah Division of Water Quality divvied up $3.1 million among 15 mitigation projects, including Logan’s, said Mike Allred, an environmental scientist for DWQ who was on the committee.
“We were looking for projects that were ready to go,” Allred said. “We wanted to fund more implementation-type projects that are on-the-ground projects rather than research and information outreach projects, that type of thing.”
Logan’s proposal fit the type of effort they were looking for, he added.
“It ranked really high,” he said. “It’s going to be a good project. There’s been a lot of public attention ... It’s a very visual project with the Logan River where it runs through town.”
Allred will also sit on the Logan River Task Force, which includes Utah State University professors and representatives from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, Trout Unlimited, Cache Anglers, Bridgerland Audubon Society and Logan city.
Mayor Petersen said the city is not ready to announce who is on the committee, though it will include Frank Howe, a USU avian and wildlife ecology professor who represents the Bridgerland Audubon Society.
The idea of a task force was discussed before the city had the grant, Howe explained.
“When the river restoration first came to light, I got together with a number of professors at USU and talked about what we might be able to do, and we decided to form this task force and talked to the mayor about it, and he seemed to be supportive,” he said.
The task force’s first job will be to formally organize itself, Houser said. They are also developing a plan with the city on what to target in the first phase of the project. The funding is available through 2018, he said.
Howe said it is likely they will look at the Logan River and its immediate tributaries where it exits Logan Canyon and flows through the city. The task force will look into correcting any mistakes made in recent years as well as ensure future restoration has good scientific backing and follows proper resources, he said.
“I can certainly envision us looking at the Blacksmith Fork as well because it’s had some of the same issues with it, and eventually I think we can develop a plan that not only covers the Logan River and the tributaries of Logan,” Howe said. “It’s a big elephant, so we need to take it one bite at a time.”