November 22, 2011
Kezia Nielsen, 435-772-0211
Marc Neidig, 435-772-0164
Zion National Park is seeking public comment on the environmental assessment (EA) that analyzed the impacts of a proposed upgrade to the irrigation system and diversion structure within the park. The proposed upgrade would decrease maintenance requirements for the open ditch system, decrease the use of culinary water for landscaping and increase the overall efficiency of the irrigation system. This irrigation system services park facilities in Zion Canyon from the south park boundary to Canyon Junction.
The EA analyzed three alternatives. None of the alternatives would affect or change existing water rights. In Alternative A, the no action alternative, the park would continue using the existing open ditch system for watering vegetation; no upgrade to the system would occur. Under both Alternatives B and C the proposal is to place the water in a pipe and to pressurize the irrigation system. The difference between Alternative B and C is the alignment of the pipeline and the placement of facilities. Alternative B, the preferred alternative, would have fewer environmental impacts because of the placement of the facilities and the reduced length of the pipeline.
The park encourages the public to participate in the planning process at this time. The EA will be available for public review and comment for 30 days, with comments accepted through December 27, 2011. The document is available electronically for review and comment online by visiting the National Park Service Planning, Environment, and Public Comment website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/. Comments may also be mailed to: Zion National Park, Upgrade Irrigation System EA, Springdale, UT 84767.