In the article “Letter of Intent moves Dry Gulch talks forward” in the Sept. 11 issue of The SUN, it was reported, “The ranch was originally purchased to support the 35,000 acre-foot reservoir project of Dry Gulch. In 2008, the Dry Gulch project was reduced to 11,000 acre-feet, thus reducing the need for the 660 acres that comprises the Running Iron Ranch.”
Following that report, however, Rod Proffitt, chairman of the San Juan Water Conservancy District (SJWCD), sought to clarify that statement.
Proffitt wrote in an email to SUN staff, “One thing, the change from 35,000 AF to 11,000 AF did not impact the need or lack thereof for the ranch purchased back in 2008. Rather, there was always some surplus property associated with the purchase known as ‘the Ridge Parcel.’ This became an issue in our discussions with the State, the forest service and PAWSD. There will still need to be additional purchases/land exchanges – even with the reservoir at 11,000 AF.”
Proffitt also explained that the Forest Service application for a special uses permit/land exchange was submitted by SJWCD to replace the original application submitted by PAWSD for the 35,000 acre feet. The new application seeks about 300 acres of Forest Service land. “The fact that the forest service only wants to deal in quarter sections results in more property than actually needed for this reservoir,” Proffitt wrote.
“San Juan also needs a small amount of property from the Laverty family ranch interests. On the San Juan website, you will see a new survey of property interests. The Ridge Parcel is where the Weber Sand & Gravel operations are located and accounts for approximately 200 acres,” Proffitt wrote.
Proffitt stated that when he first approached the Forest Service on possible land exchanges, he requested they consider taking the Ridge Parcel for what was needed in the pool basin, but they were not interested since it is not pristine nor adjacent to Forest Service lands they could manage appropriately.
Proffitt wrote,“We are also discussing a land exchange that would bring forest service land that underlies the Park Ditch under Park Ditch ownership, but these discussions are not going forward until the PAWSD / State agreement is reached.”
Proffitt stated SJWCD would continue discussions how this project might move forward to acquire the rest of the pool basin as part of its new agreement with the state.
“However, before we can move forward, the State and PAWSD need to reach a mutually acceptable accommodation on the ‘debt for equity’ exchange,” Proffitt added.