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AM Brief: Salt Lake County water summit, Arches permit system & mule deer catch COVID

The sun rises on a snow-covered Turret Arch, casting a bright orange glow on the landscape. A quarter moon can be seen just to the left of the sandstone turret, Feb. 24, 2022.
Kaitlyn Rose Thomas
National Park Service, public domain
The sun rises on a snow-covered Turret Arch, casting a bright orange glow on the landscape. A quarter moon can be seen just to the left of the sandstone turret, Feb. 24, 2022.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Northern Utah

Salt Lake County water summit begins Tuesday

Salt Lake County staff and regional water experts will gather Tuesday to present steps residents and property owners can take to conserve water. It’s part of a four-week water summit led by Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. Each week will focus on a different topic and emphasize how new data applies locally. The opening topic is titled “2022 Snowpack: The Dire Story Snowpack Tells Us.” The first meeting will be Tuesday at 2 p.m. — followed by three more meetings on April 12, April 26 and May 3. — Leah Treidler

Southern Utah

Temporary reservation system for Arches

Arches National Park will launch a temporary timed entry system on Sunday. The goal is to reduce traffic, improve visitors’ experiences and distribute visitation. National Park Service staff led an intensive feedback process and incorporated comments by federal, state, local and private parties. During the pilot program, the staff will gather data on its impacts on visitor safety, parking congestion and trail crowding. The system runs from April 3 through Oct. 3. All visitors must make a reservation before visiting the park on — Leah Treidler


Easier access to teen treatment program records

The Office of Licensing, the main regulator of the more than 100 teen treatment programs in Utah, recently confirmed it will soon make it easier for the public to access important information about those programs. Starting this summer, the office will start posting violation and disciplinary reports on its website. Up until now, those records have only been available via official records requests, which can be time-consuming and costly. The move comes more than a year after the Sent Away investigative reporting team created a similar database. Read the full story. — David Fuchs

First case of COVID in Morgan County mule deer

The first case of COVID-19 in a Utah mule deer was discovered last week. A lab in Iowa confirmed a case of the delta variant in a sample from a deer in Morgan County. Division of Wildlife Resources biologists submitted the sample during a winter health assessment when they tested roughly 280 deer statewide. The lab found only one case of COVID but several others had antibodies — suggesting they previously had the virus. Officials said there’s no evidence the animals have contributed significantly to the spread of COVID-19. — Leah Treidler


Hispanic community vaccinations lag in Mountain West

Hispanic communities in the Mountain West have some of the nation’s lowest vaccination numbers, depending on the state. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation analysis found that Hispanic vaccination rates were only 42% in Idaho and Colorado. They tied for the second-lowest rate in the country, above only South Dakota. Advocates in these states point to challenges like access to vaccines outside of long work hours, transportation, accurate vaccine information in Spanish and a long-held hesitancy. There are still ongoing efforts to inform and/or vaccinate these populations, though. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

Navajo Nation president calls for tribal involvement in Colorado River basin

in a Monday meeting with U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and tribal leaders advocated for the meaningful involvement of tribes in managing the Colorado River basin. Nez said the Navajo Nation is in dire need of access to clean water and 30% to 40% of Navajo people don’t have running water. Historically, tribal leaders have been left out of negotiations about the basin. But Nez said, “Tribal engagement is critical to design solutions for universal access to clean water and the management framework for the Colorado River basin.” — Leah Treidler

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