Environews, Environews

Bear River Coalition Opposes Raising Cutler Dam

By Amy Brunvand

The Bear River Coalition opposes a proposal by PacifiCorp (the parent company of Rocky Mountain Power) to raise the height of Cutler Dam on the Bear River.

PacifiCorp is trying to sell the proposal as a water storage project, but in fact Cutler reservoir is so shallow that increasing the surface area would cause more water to evaporate than what would be stored.

Raising the dam would also result in a host of negative consequences: flooding bird rookeries and farmland in Cache Valley, raising water levels so that boats and canoes could not pass under bridges, and forcing Cache County to redesign roads. At the same time, blocking water flow could cause tens of thousands of acres of Great Salt Lake wetlands to dry up.

The Cutler hydroelectric dam has become silted up so that it is only generating about 30% capacity so there is a problem, but critics say that PacifiCorps should dredge silt from the reservoir. PacifiCorps is resisting that option because they could use public funds if they call it a water project, but they would have to pay for dredging themselves.

Utah Rivers Council is the lead organization for the Bear River Coalition, a group of conservationists, hunters, birders and farmers trying to stop water diversions from the Bear River.

Bear River Coalition: savethebearriver.org; Don’t Raise Cutler! dontraisecutler.org

This article was originally published on September 5, 2017.