Provo River Delta Restoration Project
Since completion of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and obtaining a Record of Decision in May 2015, we have been working hard to move the project into the design and construction phases. Significant progress has been made in the following areas:
LAND APPRAISALS & ACQUISITION
We have been working with property specialists, landowners and the U.S. Department of the Interior, which has the authority to oversee land acquisitions, to do title searches, identify boundaries and appraise properties so land acquisition can begin. Land acquisition requires that a licensed independent appraiser be contracted to appraise each property to determine its fair market value. Two of the six appraisals have been completed and the remaining four appraisals are slated for completion from November through January. After an appraisal is finalized, negotiations with the private landowner will begin. Throughout this process, we are very much aware of our responsibility to both landowners and the tax-paying public. We are committed to treating landowners fairly while holding ourselves equally accountable for responsible use of public funds, which will be used to purchase land.
WILDLIFE MONITORING AND BIRD USE
We have been in discussions with Provo City, Provo City Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to explore means of designing and managing the project area to reduce its attractiveness to certain types of birds and wildlife that may pose an increased flight risk to air traffic at the nearby Provo Municipal Airport. Discussions have included forming an agreement for monitoring bird use and movement, and measures for controlling wildlife that might interfere with air traffic.
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS
Several contracts for final design and project construction have been awarded and the contractors are ready to begin work.
Allred Restoration Inc., which previously led the design and construction of the middle Provo River Restoration project in the Heber Valley, will provide final design and construction oversight of the aquatic habitat features of the project.
HDR Inc. will be designing recreational facilities associated with the project, including trails, parking areas, restrooms, river access, wildlife watching towers and other amenities. HDR and the project team will work closely with Utah County, Provo City and the local community to help design and locate the recreational facilities. HDR will also provide civil engineering services required for the realignment of a section of Boat Harbor Drive.
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has been tasked to design and engineer a berm to be constructed on the south boundary of the restoration area. This berm will protect private lands south of the area from river flows and Utah Lake waters directed into the newly constructed river delta. The berm will also function as a new trail segment that will be interconnected with existing Utah County and Provo City trails in the area. The Bureau will also design a small dam across the current Provo River channel near Utah Lake State Park. The small dam will stabilize river elevations in the channel at near bankfull levels.
Central Utah Water Conservancy District has been tasked to design and provide construction oversight of a diversion structure that will divert flows from the current Provo River channel into the newly constructed channel and delta area. The diversion structure will allow a flow of 10-50 cubic feet per second (cfs) to continue down the old river channel, while ensuring spring spawning June sucker are directed into the restored delta habitat.