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Public comment period open for permit application to dredge Utah Lake

John Esperancilla, Unsplash
Construction equipment that would be involved in dredging

The Army Corp of Engineers permit would enable the company, Lake Restoration Solutions, to dredge Utah Lake, then build islands with the dredged material. LRS submitted their permit application on January 6, 2022. Late Tuesday, February 1, the permit was made publicly available on the Army Corps of Engineers website (https://www.spk.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Utah-Lake-Restoration-Project/)

The document includes aerial images showing locations and sizes of the proposed islands and roadways that would allow access to them, as well as a roadway along the entire west side of the lake. The islands would create nearly 20,000 acres of land, covering a fifth of the lake’s surface area.

Opponents of the project, including BYU professor Ben Abbott who is now the target of a defamation lawsuit by LRS, held a press conference Tuesday discussing the importance of public involvement. Mary Murdock Meyer, the Chief Executive of the Timpanogos Nation gave her thoughts in a statement read by Isabella Ergo, a graduate student from BYU, at the conference:

"The EPA and Army Corps of Engineers will do their studies and determine the feasibility of the project suggested but we as people of this state, have a voice and must speak out. This historic sacred lake must survive. Our children need to be able to sit on its banks with parents and grandparents and remember that without just like our history wouldn't be what it is."

The Army Corps of Engineer’s website says they are “particularly interested in receiving comments related to the proposal's probable impacts on the affected aquatic environment and the secondary and cumulative effects”. The environmental implications of this project have been scrutinized since its inception. Public comments will be accepted until a draft Environmental Impact Statement is published, but is unclear at this time when that will be. Comments can be sent to the Corp’s permitting specialist Leah Fisher, by phone at (916) 557-6639, or by email at Leah.M.Fisher@usace.army.mil.