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Ditch companies ditch river restoration plans

Article Date: 
17 January, 2014 (All day)

Despite the recent excitement for recreational and economic development opportunities that may come with redeveloping the Weber River, local ditch companies that rely on the flow for irrigation purposes are not as enthusiastic.
“We absolutely do not want them tearing out any of our dams. If they touch one rock, it would violate the permits we have,” said David Potter, who represents the North Morgan Ditch Company. “We don’t want people floating the river and throwing their trash in that comes to us.”
Potter said several people find it necessary to haul pick-up truck loads worth of litter left floating on the river from recreationists each year. 
He said members of the South Morgan Ditch Company and East Richville Ditch Company agree.
“As ditch companies, we are not in favor of it,” Potter said.  “It would increase our costs and maintenance.” 
In December, the Morgan County Council approved seeking funding for a design study that would explain the scope and cost of the project.  The county’s willingness to provide in-kind donations such as labor from county employees could improve chances of securing grants. 
Restoration could improve fishing habitat and recreation opportunities such as tubing.
But council members were clear in December that they would not agree to major redevelopment of the river areas if all land owners and irrigation companies affected were not on board.
Potter said he told restoration proponents of the ditch company’s disapproval three months ago.
“Use wisdom on it,” he advised the council members.