SALT LAKE CITY — Federal officials this week proposed to protect portions of eight streams in southern Utah noted for their wildlife, scenic waterfalls or pioneer inscriptions.
In a draft study, the Bureau of Land Management identified 14 total miles of waterways that should be designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers to prevent development.
Seven of the stream sections are in Iron County and one stream section is in Beaver County. All of them cross land managed by the BLM.
Critical habitat for the endangered southwestern willow flycatcher as well as the threatened Mexican spotted owl is found along some of the stream sections. Bonneville Cutthroat trout, which is a state-sensitive species, are also found in some of the stream sections.
Other justifications for the proposed protections are Native American petroglyphs or pioneer inscriptions found on rocks near two of the proposed stream sections and the scenic beauty of the canyons carved by the waters.
Utah Rivers Council Executive Director Zach Frankel said this proposal is a good beginning.
Local officials are skeptical of the proposal, said Iron County Commissioner Dale Brinkerhoff, although the proposal was still being reviewed by commissioners and staff."We're concerned because we don't want any more layers of government regulation," Brinkerhoff said.
A public comment period runs through Oct. 31.