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May 2016 Roundtable Recap

May 17, 2016
by Heila Ershadi

Greetings, everyone.

Thank you all for an interesting and productive Roundtable Discussion with Canyonlands Watershed Council on Monday evening!
A quick-ish recap of the discussions at the last Roundtable, and the action items that came out of them (and please let me know if you have any additions or other edits):

Safe Pesticide/Herbicide Use Campaign
Following up on the discussion started at the April Roundtable, Extension Agent Mike Johnson spoke about common misunderstandings in the public on how to use pesticides and herbicides.  He will be sending me some online resources on the subject.  Roundtable attendees discussed several potential outreach methods:

1). Circulating a pledge that states that all who sign are committed to using pollinator- and watershed-friendly practices on their own landscapes and the reasons why, and encourage their neighbors, local businesses, and other entities to do the same.

Pesticide Action Network has a model pledge on page 15 of their “Bee the Change” Toolkit.  (  We could modify it to expand the focus from exclusively the health of pollinators to the health of the whole watershed, with the pledge being to use safe and minimal pesticides and herbicides.  I would be happy to draft this pledge and submit it to this group and the Bee Inspired Garden group, too.  It could be a hard copy pledge and/or one that can circulate on social media.

2).  Reaching out to pesticide and herbicide consumers at the point of sale.

This could include a cautionary label for products that are potentially hazardous to pollinators and the watershed, and/or some other educational info like a poster in stores where these chemicals are sold.  We discussed reaching out to local store managers/owners in a collaborative spirit to see about possibilities.  Let me know if ou are interested in reaching out to store managers/owners, particularly if you know them personally or know someone who does.

I’d love to hear some feedback on these two potential modes of outreach!  I think both are worth pursuing, and will be a good complement to the workshop series that the Bee Inspired Garden group is hosting in the coming months.  Check out their website for the workshop schedule and other useful information regarding pollinators, water-wise landscaping, and much more!

Presentation by Grand Water and Sewer Service Agency (GWSSA)
Mark Sovine, director of GWSSA, and Gary Wilson, Chairman of the Grand County Special Service Water District, came and spoke about GWSSA and the various groups it encompasses. They also spoke about Ken’s Lake and it’s purposes.

It was initially created for agricultural irrigation, which at the time was so widespread that it was causing dramatic fluctuations in area groundwater levels, as farmers seasonally pumped groundwater for their crops.  Today, less of the lake’s water goes to agricultural irrigation, and more toward uses such as the golf course and residential landscaping.  Unlike in some other places, the irrigation water is metered, and is possibly the most expensive irrigation water in the state.

Ken’s Lake recharges the aquifer somewhat, and is a potential source of culinary water if needed, though that’s not anticipated any time in the near future.  In less wet times than these, all but 3cfs of Mill Creek is diverted into Ken’s Lake.  The remaining 3cfs is used on a schedule by Moab Irrigation Company.  That’s why you’ll sometimes see Mill Creek go dry during irrigation season.  However, Mark reported that Ken’s Lake is now at capacity and they will only refill it after an irrigation delivery.  So, we can expect Mill Creek flows to remain quite full in the coming months. 

For more information about GWSSA, you can check out their website at www,

I hope everyone has enjoyed the recent rains and the cool, fresh air that has followed it.
Thank you all for your dedication to Moab and our waters.
—Heila Ershadi
Executive Director of Canyonlands Watershed Council

PS:  It was unfortunate that the “Weeds but Wonders” talk on edible weeds at the YGP, given by Ros Brain and Emily Stock, happened at the same time as the Roundtable.  I’ve asked Ros and Emily to come give a similar presentation at a future Roundtable.  I did a bunch of weeding over the weekend and probably composted a perfectly good salad!


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