Oil spotted in Great Salt Lake wetlands

Chevron’s broken pipeline has not been contained completely in the Jordan River at SLC-

More bad news about the Utah “oil spill.”

Oil spotted in Great Salt Lake wetlands. By Judy Fahys. The Salt Lake Tribune






  1. jdubya Avatar

    This spill occurred on a nice little stream that flows through many people’s back yards in the center of Salt Lake City. It held little cutt’s and rainbows as well as frogs, snakes, and other aquatic wildlife. It is amazing to me that such a large spill could have occurred without people noticing it. The state has recently blocked anglers from such streams by passing a bill that blocks anglers from fishing on public waters crossing private land. I wonder if an angler had been on the water, if this leak might have been caught earlier.

  2. Ralph Maughan Avatar


    That is a very good point about stream access! I don’t think many people outside the state, or even inside, other than anglers, know about what the legislature did. Where was Don Peay and Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife?

  3. JEFF E Avatar
    JEFF E

    That is curious as in other states such as Idaho and Montana just the opposite is the law. A individual has the ability to access public waterways crossing private land, usually by just staying within the high water marks.
    Of course try and tell a rancher that….

    1. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears


      In Montana, You can’t cross private land, unless you have the landowners permission, you can however access from bridges and such as long as you stay within the high water marks, and you can access if you float into the area, but you can’t cross land without permission..

      All waterways in Montana are considered public resources between the high water lines…

    2. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears

      To add, this has been in the courts as well as many hearings over the last few years in Montana, and if I remember right the last time it came up, there was a ruling that private property that abutts up to bridge, the landowner cannot attach their fence to the bridge or if they do, they must provide a step over on the fence to allow access to the public waterway..

    3. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      All of which i know SB;I was born in Montana, but thanks for the added clarification.

    4. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears

      That is not to say, that if Huey Lewis and some of his cronies have their way, it will always be like that, many of the big land owners, movie stars and musical stars have tried every which way they can, to change that law! I think it has been to the Montana Supreme court 2 or 3 times now!

    5. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      Try to get on the Red Rock river between Lima and the reservoir, on a bridge or not, and see how quickly the ATV shows up to tell you you are trespassing.

    6. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears

      I know there has been a hell of a problem down on the Madison River as well in the Bitterroot Valley, we tried to do some fishing down there a couple of years ago and had armed guards confront us, fortunately, I know a couple of the Game Wardens in that area and gave them a call and they came out to straighten things out..

    7. JEFF E Avatar
      JEFF E

      better the game warden,
      Call a sheriff’s deputy and your outta there

    8. Save bears Avatar
      Save bears

      I don’t call cops any longer since I had one stand in my driveway, when I reported a trespasser and he stood there and told me the next time this happens you need to call the police, I looked in straight in the eye and said “What the Hell are you????”

  4. jdubya Avatar

    Ralph, Don Peay (and SFW) was against the public’s right for stream access.

    The jist was a 5-0 Utah Supreme court ruling that allowed the public to access waters from a public right of way (like Montana described above). As long as you stayed with a wet boot in the river, you were legal. But stray into the private land you were trespassing. All good, right?

    But the Farm Bureau and others including SFW lobbied the legislature for HB141 which made the access to public water on private land against the law regardless of how you enter the water. So now we are back where we were, no public access to the public water that flows over private land (private river beds).

    The legal remedy will be for someone to get arrested for fishing such a stream and toss it back into the courts. My guess is that a 5-0 Supreme court ruling sets a fairly defined precedent, but time will tell….

    1. JB Avatar


      We have nearly the identical problem here in Ohio. Interestingly, there was a time when hunters and anglers alike had nearly unlimited access to lands that were not in agricultural production. The private property “movement” has gradually eroded hunters’ and anglers’ access.

      – – –

      Why am I not surprised to learn that SFW supported HB141?

    2. WM Avatar

      Not sure I understand what this law does. Is it intended to prevent public float access through private property entirely, or is there a federal or state “navigable waters” test for it to apply? Can you float through, without encountering a fence across, etc. and/or is there intent to keep you from touching the land beneath the waterbody?

      This seems even more problematic if any efforts have been taken by feds or the state to enhance in-stream flows for wildlife or recreational purposes, especially with the use of public funds.

      Has there been any analysis of this new law, and what it means to Utah recreational water users?

    3. Ralph Maughan Avatar


      Thanks jdubya. I want to keep pointing out the hypocrisy of these “sportsmen” who are only interested in hunting deer and elk. Apparently no other kind of fish or wildlife (or wildlife issue except predator killing) is of interest to them, or if it is, they support big money and establishment political power.

    4. Ryan Avatar


      Where did you get that info from? From what I have read SFW didn’t take a stand on this issue.

  5. jdubya Avatar

    Ryan, big difference between “taking a stand” and working behind the scenes to implement a law. Peay worked closely with Ferry on the bill of 2009 that would have blocked angler access, and then worked with McIff and Noel on HB141 (and against Fowlkes on her competing HB80 that would have allowed angler access to the high water mark).

    Do you think Peay gets the power and control he has by doing backroom deals in the light of day? The goal of SFW and Farm Bureau is to protect private property rights (as they see them) and to protect private hunting/fishing clubs that use the waterways for private paid hunts. For Peay and SFW it always, always, always comes down to one thing……money!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan