Writings and observations

Water rights weekly report for June 12. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

In a June 13 court decision, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in San Francisco sweepingly affirmed the Gila River Indian Community’s positions regarding numerous water policy issues in the Upper Valley of the Gila River. Of particular importance is the principle that water rights which go unused for a consecutive period of five years are permanently forfeited, no matter when the water was originally appropriated.

Utahns are invited to weigh in on a set of recommendations for a 50-year state water strategy before those recommendations are finalized and delivered to Gov. Gary Herbert. The draft recommendations have been written over the last four years by the State Water Strategy Advisory Team, a volunteer group of water experts including researchers, the Utah climatologist, water managers, agricultural representatives, environmental advocates, elected officials and others.

Notification letters sent recently to Flathead-area water right owners from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s) Water Adjudication Bureau are part of the agency’s ongoing claims examination process. Kathy Olsen, manager of DNRC’s Kalispell Regional Water Office, said the Department has been directed by the Montana Water Court to examine water right claims in Flathead River Basins 76L and 76LJ. The process is not connected with the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Water Compact or with the proposed Montana Artesian water bottling operation.

A June 16 report in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Journal Sentinel said that newly-filed court documents showed state employees expressing concerns, through emails, about heavy well development in high-irrigation areas. The development, they suggested, could harm area streams and water bodies.

The Nevada capital Carson City on June 15 reached an agreement involving the nearby city of Minden, Douglas County and the Indian Hills General Improvement District to obtain additional water rights.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 22. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

It’s a quiet period in the early summer stretch leading up to Independence Day, but state politics got a little shakeup with the campaign change of Russ Fulcher, and with ongoing developments out of Washington.

Former state senator and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher on June 14 said that he will not run for governor, as he had indicated, but instead will seek the first district U.S. House seat.

Senator Mike Crapo, Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, secured passage of the Countering Russian Aggression and Cyberattacks Act of 2017 today, legislation introduced yesterday as an amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill. The amendment passed 97-2.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the third consecutive month in May to 3.2 percent, underscoring the increased pressure among Idaho employers competing for workers.

The Idaho Department of Finance said on June 16 that before the end of June it will be reaching out by email and U.S. Mail to thousands of individuals licensed to provide financial services in Idaho to seek input on the department’s licensing processes.

Avista has asked the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to approve a two-year plan calling for rate increases in 2018 and 2019 for its electric and natural gas customers in Idaho.

Ada County’s Mosquito Abatement District has been added to the Local Disaster Emergency Declaration that was created under Idaho Code §46-1011 on March 27.

PHOTO In May, the Idaho Panhandle National Forests planted approximately 45,500 western white pine, larch and cedar in 126 acres of the Lower Flat Salvage Sale area on the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District that was burned during the 2015 Grizzly Complex fires. Hemlock needles coat the forest floor masking the ash and burned ground. (photo/Idaho Panhandle National Forest)

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Briefings