New water coordinator working to help agricultural community
|Dean Stacy addresses the Carbon County Commission during his introduction at a meeting a couple of weeks ago.|
Dean Stacy is still relatively new to his job, but then the job is relatively new too.
Stacy was named the new Water Project Coordinator for the Price River Soil Conservation District this past summer and was introduced to the county commission two weeks ago.
It is a unique kind of position; one that means a lot to the area. Stacy who is originally from Evanston, Wyo., takes on a position that means more and more as the drought in the area gets deeper and deeper.
While two previous individuals have laid the groundwork for this job as it was developed, Stacy is beginning to see the fruits of their labor. Mainly the Wellington Canal and Spring Glen Canals efforts to pipe their secondary water systems. It appears he will be right in the middle of the Carbon Canal piping project as it moves forward.
The two key reasons these projects are being done are to desalinize down stream flows and to make water use more efficient. But while these are the high profile projects he works with, he does many other jobs.
He spends time every day talking and discussing issues and solutions to problems with those in agriculture in the county.
"A lot of my job is education and helping others," he stated. "I work on projects as the board of the district sees fit."
That board consists of seven members: Lyle B. Bryner, Norman Wilson, Tom Bruno, Dale Mathis, Paula Butcher, John Hanna and George Cook who are elected by the agricultural community.
Stacy's position is funded by reimbursement by Carbon County. He reports to the commissioners in a regular meeting on a quarterly basis, to let them know what he is working on as well as to take their public input.
But the counties will is manifested through the board.
"Right now I am working on some water projects and in the area of animal feeding operations and concentrated animal feeding operations," says Stacy. "We are striving to improve water quality in the area and down stream."
Known as AFO and CAFO operations, and based on various definitions the Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture have set up a strategy to control pollution from animal sources, particularly large ones.
It has been known for years that many types of agricultural units pollute runoff waters, and they were regarded as non-point pollutions sources. They have not been regulated in the past by the Clean Water Act. However, in recent years the problems with this kind of pollution has become more apparent, consequently the plan by the federal agencies was adopted.
The strategy presently revolves around voluntary compliance, but could become mandatory if the present efforts don't succeed in solving the problems. At present the federal government is leaving it up to individual states to solve the situation, so state representatives are trying to educate agriculture about the program.
In the past few years the water piping projects have pulled in seven to eight million dollars for installation. The Carbon Canal project appears to be something that will happen soon and that will be another large piece of change that will be put into the infrastructure in the area.
While some consider the piping projects folly, almost everyone else sees the benefit, and in many cases the installed systems on lands improves the value of the property.
Stacy's work with new water storage projects is just in it's infancy right now. Last spring the county commission heard some presentations on a possible Consumers Reservoir as well as a small reservoir in the cliffs above Carbonville.
The Farnum area has also been considered for a reservoir. All have various drawbacks, and some may not be viable.
But the ideas persist, and while they wouldn't supply new sources of water, they may provide extra storage that could carry extra water in wet years and provide water in dry ones.