Resident wants irrigation reservoir as a fishery

Oct 24 2011 - 6:23am

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LAYTON -- Scott Green is not a fisherman. So why does he want to turn Andy Adams Reservoir into a community fishery?

"I just thought it would be a good place for people to make memories," Green said.

Green, president of Kays Creek Irrigation Company, said he has a picture of his grandson catching a catfish from the reservoir, which is now private property.

"He's got his head in the bucket with the fish," Green said.

That kind of memory is why Green approached Layton city officials for help in turning the irrigation reservoir into a place where residents can fish. The city, Kays Creek Irrigation Company, which is in charge of managing the reservoir, and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are close to entering an agreement on how to create the fishery.

The plan hit a bit of a snag last week when Layton's city council tabled a vote on the agreement until Nov. 17. Council members want to resolve concerns of nearby residents who are against the idea of large crowds gathering in the area because of concerns about noise, garbage and crime. They expressed their concerns during a meeting Oct. 19 at Andy Adams Park.

"The people around here don't want it, period," said Chuck Cunningham, 67, who bought his house on Ash Drive five years ago. "The back of my house faces the dam, and I don't want people walking on that dam looking at my backyard and leaving trash around my house."

David Price, Layton's parks and recreation director, said because of the city's involvement, the fishery will be better off than had Green not received the city's help.

"Our maintenance crew will be down there to make sure the site is kept up to city standards, with the trash removed and making sure it is a safe place for people to be," Price said. "Also, with the city help, police will be able to make patrols and access that reservoir like they never have been able to do in the past."

Green will be responsible for paying for a gravel access to the reservoir, which will be where Gordon Avenue dead ends just east of Andy Adams Park, as well as an on-site restroom.

The DWR will pay Green $11,000 per year, which Green will use to build the gravel road, gravel parking lot and restroom as well as maintain those additions. The DWR will also stock the reservoir with fish.

Price said because maintenance crews already visit Andy Adams Park, which is just north of the reservoir, workers will easily have the time to clean up around the fishery as well.

The city also will maintain a Youth Fishing Club with the assistance of the DWR.

"There's a part of the youth that we're not reaching," said Brock Hill, Layton's parks division superintendent. "We have sports, but some want to fish."

Angry residents may not be considering that Green does not need permission to create the fishery, and that the pond was there before the residents' homes were built.

Green's grandfather, David O. Green, built the irrigation pond in 1914 because farmers were running out of the water from North Fork and Middle Fork creeks by the end of July each summer. Green said his father, Woodrow Green, was upset when the city allowed the construction of homes around the reservoir and particularly below the dam.

Even though there are "No Trespassing" and "No Swimming" signs posted by the reservoir, Green said, nearby residents still swim in the water and leave trash in the area. He said with the city maintaining the area, the cleanliness should improve.

Green said part of the agreement allows him to close the fishery at any time if he feels it is not working. So he said the idea is worth trying.

"I just think it would be a great thing," Green said. "Why not utilize what the city has instead of just using it for irrigation?"

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