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AM News Brief: Bear Lake fishing, a ‘dismal’ water year & Utah Supreme Court dismisses San Juan County commission lawsuit

Scott Tolentino
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
Utah Division of Wildlife Resources technician Emily Wright shows a lake trout caught and released at Bear Lake during a DWR survey. On Thursday, the Utah Wildlife Board approved new fishing rules which will go into effect at Bear Lake in late November. This story and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, Oct. 1, 2021


A ‘dismal’ water year

Thursday marked the end of Utah’s water year, and state officials are calling it “dismal” because of the record low water levels for the state’s reservoirs, streams and soils. But there was a bright spot. Summer monsoon rains improved soil moisture from where Utah stood this time last year, which will help with runoff in the spring. Going into the winter, officials are hoping for a better snowpack since that’s the source of 95% of the state’s water. — Lexi Peery

Southern Utah

Court tosses out case over 2018 San Juan County commission race

The Utah Supreme Court has tossed out a lawsuit over the 2018 San Juan County commission election. Republican Kelly Laws lost the race to Navajo Democrat Willie Grayeyes. Laws filed the lawsuit in January 2019 in an effort to overturn the results, claiming that Grayeyes was not truly a Utah resident. The high court ruled Thursday that Laws did not have standing to challenge the victory. The election gave San Juan County its first Native American majority commission in a county dogged by allegations of discrimination against Navajo voters. — Associated Press/Elaine Clark

Northern Utah

Hockey fans line up to show vaccination cards at the Vivint Arena

Vivint Arena’s new COVID-19 vaccine rule went into effect Thursday night. It requires everyone over the age of 12 to show proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter. The Los Angeles Kings took on the Las Vegas Golden Knights in a preseason NHL game. People dressed in hockey jerseys lined up outside the arena waiting for guest services to check their COVID vaccine cards. Nahyra Viana drove up from Orem with her family and said she feels safer with the new requirements. While most people felt alright with the new policy, others thought it was restrictive. State epidemiologist Dr. Leisha Nolen said it's important to be aware of the COVID-19 risk at live sporting events and to take precautions like masking up. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez

New fishing rules at Bear Lake

Thursday, the Utah Wildlife Board approved new fishing rules which will go into effect at Bear Lake in late November. Currently, anglers have to immediately release any trout that has all its fins intact, but come Nov. 23 that won’t be the case anymore. The two-fish limit will apply to any cutthroat or other trout. An official with Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources said the move was coordinated with Idaho Fish and Game — so the rules will be the same on both sides of the lake. The Wildlife Board also extended the closure of the new Willard Bay Pond. It won’t open now until Sept. 1, 2022. Officials say this will give more time for newly stocked fish to grow and spawn. — Elaine Clark


Voter support for conservation efforts

New research shows strong support for conservation efforts in several key Western states. Data for Progress, a self-described progressive research group, surveyed likely voters in Nevada, Montana and Colorado. The survey found people from all political backgrounds supported conservation efforts — although conservation of public lands is more popular than a national clean energy standard. That support could affect the outcome of the 2022 midterm elections. — Bert Johnson, Mountain West News Bureau

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