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AM News Brief: Salt Lake City Budget, Zion Cyanobacteria & Shoshone Hunting Rights

Photo of the Salt Lake City and County building
Brian Albers
The Salt Lake City Council passed a $358 million budget this week — about $8 million higher than what the city’s mayor had proposed. This story and more in the Thursday morning news brief.

Thursday morning, June 17, 2021


Drought Isn’t The Only Reason For Utah’s Water Scarcity

Utah is in the midst of its worst drought in decades. State officials have focused on the lack of rain to explain the water shortage we are facing, but experts said it’s just as important to look at demand. Brian Richter owns a consulting firm that specializes in the issue. He said states in the Colorado River Basin like Utah are already using too much of the precious resource, based on the river’s average output. Zach Frankel with the Utah Rivers Council said one way to reduce water use in Utah is by making the resource more expensive. Read the full story.Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Northern Utah

Salt Lake City Passes $358 Million Budget

The Salt Lake City Council passed a $358 million budget this week — about $8 million higher than what the city’s mayor had proposed. It includes $11 million for affordable housing programs, like rental assistance. There’s also money to hire a dozen social workers to respond to mental health calls with police officers. The council approved the creation of a Public Lands Department, which will oversee city parks. The new budget goes into effect July 1. — Emily Means

Southern Utah

Cyanobacteria Still Found In Zion National Park

An advisory for harmful algal blooms is still in effect for the North Fork of the Virgin River, which runs through Zion National Park. Officials said hot temperatures and drought conditions could make things worse. The park has been monitoring the river since a dog died in it last summer. Kate Fickas, with the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, said the cyanobacteria can be cleared out from rainfall which isn’t expected anytime soon. The warning advisory means people recreating in the area shouldn’t drink or submerge their heads in the water. Also, dogs are vulnerable to the toxins and should be kept on a leash. — Lexi Peery, St. George


Shoshone Tribe Fighting For Hunting Rights

A Shoshone tribe in Utah is seeking off-reservation hunting rights in Idaho. In a federal lawsuit filed on Monday, the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation argues it should be recognized as a signatory under the 1868 Fort Bridger Treaty, which includes off-reservation hunting rights. The Eastern Shoshone and Shoshone-Bannock tribes are already acknowledged as signatories. This suit comes two years after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Crow tribal citizens’ off-reservation hunting rights, which are derived from identical treaty language. But the state of Wyoming is still fighting to block Crow treaty hunters from exercising that right. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau

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