For the past month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been collecting public comment on its proposed management plan for Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, which includes the almost 9,000-acre Lake Lowell and surrounding lands.
The plan, due out later this year, restricts some non-wildlife-related lake uses, including boating.
On Tuesday, the Canyon County Commission made its stance clear: Deer Flat may be federally owned and controlled, but the county will not abide any federal rules pertaining to Lake Lowell until the federal government proves it has jurisdiction over the irrigation water that fills the reservoir.
The county maintains the irrigators and the state control the water in Lake Lowell. The commissioners said the county will not use its law enforcement resources "to enforce the on-water regulations" enacted by the feds. If federal law enforcement personnel and resources are brought in to enforce any on-water regulations, the commissioners said in their comments, "Canyon County will immediately cease its provision of parks assistance and labor," which are used for Deer Flat's cleaning and maintenance services.
The county must submit its comments by 5 p.m. Wednesday. The commissioners posted on the county website a petition for citizens to sign, which will be delivered with the comments.
Cynthia Sewell: 377-6428