BuRec finalizes Green River water exchange with Utah

The Bureau of Reclamation and State of Utah held a ceremony Wednesday, March 20 to sign the Green River Water Rights Exchange contract. Under the terms of the arrangement, the state agrees to forbear its right to deplete water from the Green River and its tributaries, enabling the bureau to meet Endangered Species Act flow requirements. In exchange, the State of Utah will receive an equal amount of water released from Flaming Gorge Dam. “The contract provides assistance in meeting flow and temperature requirements for the recovery of endangered fish, and allows Reclamation to continue operations in compliance with the 2006 Record of Decision,” said a press release from the bureau. Federal and state officials completed negotiations on the proposed agreement last year, and Reclamation recently completed a subsequent National Environmental Policy Act review, which resulted in a Finding of No Significant Impact. This agreement is specific to the Green River Block of the state’s previously assigned Central Utah Project Ultimate Phase water right. It is not related to the state’s proposed Lake Powell Pipeline project, the press release noted.