UPDATE ON HIGH UINTAS RESERVOIR STABILIZATION
On 28 August the Ashley National Forest removed the equipment that had been used to dismantle and stabilize the dams on Island and Brown Duck Lakes in the High Uintas Wilderness (HUW), returning them to their natural inflow/outflow levels. (For a complete history, see HUPC Lynx 4/97, 4/99, 4/01, 8/01, 12/01, 6/02, 2/04, 8/04, 6/06, and 10/07.) Over the last three years, Water Lily, White Miller and Farmers Lake on the Yellowstone/Swift Creek drainages have been stabilized, along with Clements Lake, last year, and Island and Brown Duck, this year, all within Brown Duck Basin on the Lake Fork Drainage. Motorized equipment has been taken by helicopter into Water Lily, Clement, Brown Duck and Island Lakes because of a requirement that each reservoir be dismantled within a single season of work- typically, very short summer seasons in the Uintas.
We have consistently objected to the single season requirement and pleaded with the Forest Service to dismantle the reservoirs in the same fashion in which they were constructed- by hand. As a result of numerous discussions and a growing sensitivity toward wilderness values by the Ashley, it is clear that the most efficient and fastest way to finish the project is to utilize minimal, motorized machinery where absolutely necessary to meet the single season constraint. No roads are to be constructed and machinery is constrained to the reservoir site.
Other reservoirs await stabilization under this proposal: Kidney, the largest reservoir in the HUW, Superior, Five Point, Drift, Bluebell, E. Timothy and Deer Lakes.
This proposal is one of the most hopeful projects the Forest Service is pursuing.