In record time Wednesday night, the remaining four board members of the Virgin Valley Water District (VVWD) appointed the newest face, Ben Davis.
After a failed nomination by Sandra Ramaker of Karl Gustaveson, who had served on the board for several years before, Vice President Barbara Ellestad nominated Davis for the position, which was then seconded by Rich Bowler. The nomination passed with a 3-1 vote in support. Ramaker was the sole nay vote.
“I am not commenting on my reasons for nominating Davis,” Ellestad told the MLN.
Davis will begin his two-year stint with the VVWD on Aug. 16 when he is sworn into the position.
“After I submitted my resume,” Davis said, “I became more familiar with the position and became more excited with the aspects. The decision making skills and background in budgets is what I have experience in. I can do this and be a positive contributor.” Davis was essentially the only applicant who did not have any experience in general water issues.
“I think with my education and work experience, this just makes sense,” he said.
The VVWD board had one more issue to contend with in their special meeting, to approve a task order with Forsgren Associates related to the Virgin River Transmission Line. According to district manager Kevin Brown, the Department of Fish and Wildlife is forcing the district to conduct a Biological Assessment in the area to determine the effects on endangered species in the area. In the memorandum provided by district hydrologist Aaron Bunker, “The EA for the project originally was going to cover five species, but after a “Google” search the regulators expanded it to seven. The EA will cover the Mojave Desert Tortoise (Gopherus agassizii; Threatened), Southwestern Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii extimus, Endangered), Yellow-Billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus; Threatened), Yuma Clapper Rail (Rallus longirostris yumanensis; Endangered), Virgin River Chub (Gila seminude; Endangered), Woundfin (Plagopterus argentissimus; Endangered), Razorback sucker(Xyrauchen texanus; Endangered).”
The original assessment was last conducted in 2008 when the bridge was constructed and placed. However, since the Department of Fish and Wildlife expanded the species to include two more, a new study is done. Although the board passed the approved $14,350 for the project, Lincoln County Water District general manager Wade Poulson inquired during public comment on why this all came about. “They have the power of a pen,” said Ellestad. “That’s all they need.”