Public and private partnership acquires 356 acres of important river land
SALT LAKE CITY - The Division of Wildlife Resources announced today it has successfully secured the protection of a key 356-acre parcel owned by the State and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) on the Green River in Daggett County.
Today's announcement culminates more than two years of effort by the DWR and sportsmen's groups to protect this vital property, which, if developed, would have seriously compromised the scenic, and wildlife values of the Little Hole region, below Flaming Gorge Dam.
"I am greatly relieved the protection of this parcel of land is now assured," said Jim Karpowitz, DWR director. "Credit for today's victory goes to many supporters, but perhaps none is more deserving than Questar Exploration and Production Company (Questar E&P), the oil and gas exploration and production subsidiary of Questar Corporation."
To aid the State in its conservation efforts, Questar E&P stepped forward and committed to contribute a significant percentage of the purchase price to DWR to allow it to purchase the parcel at auction and keep the parcel from being sold to developers.
"As one of the largest natural gas producers in Utah, we're committed to environmentally responsible development. We welcome the opportunity to participate with DWR in a public/private partnership to protect this vital habitat for today and for future generations," said Chuck Stanley, president and CEO of Questar E&P. Stanley adds that no utility ratepayer money is being used for this project.
The Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam and on through Little Hole and Brown's Park in northeastern Utah is a renowned blue ribbon trout fishery. The region also supports deer, elk, black bear and numerous raptor species. This world-class riparian area and critical wildlife habitat is one of Utah's most significant natural treasures. Conservationists and sportsmen have strongly opposed development of SITLA's Little Hole parcel that went to public auction today.
The Nature Conservancy also played an important role in bringing the parties together and advising on today's transaction. Questar has long been a supporter of The Nature Conservancy.
"Innovative partnerships are vital to conservation success," said Mike Styler, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources, which oversees the Division of Wildlife Resources. "The Nature Conservancy helps form some of the best conservation partnerships I know. The Conservancy's help with this project, bringing diverse parties together, has been terrific."
DWR will manage the property to protect its wildlife values. Public access will also be guaranteed. DWR also wishes to thank the Utah Reclamation, Mitigation and Conservation Commission for its contribution to this effort.