The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported on Monday that U.S Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev) mentioned to reporters that he was informed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke there will be some adjustments to Gold Butte as well as Basin and Range monument in Lincoln County.
“You’re not going to see wholesale changes in those monuments,” Heller said.
Heller confirmed that six springs that Mesquite and Bunkerville hold the water rights are expected to be removed from within the monument boundary. The Virgin Valley Water District requested this change during Zinke’s tour of Gold Butte on July 30.
Kevin Brown, water district general manager, has previously said moving the northern boundary by five or six miles would provide this access to the lakes. The water district already has these water rights even within the proposed boundary.
“I’m encouraged by what was said,” Brown said, although he didn’t have any first-hand information than what was reported in the newspaper. “But until its announced and signed by President Trump, I am only cautiously optimistic.”
Brown said from what he gleaned from the newspaper report, it would look like Zinke had taken the request from the water district to heart.
If the boundy is changed, it would allow the water district better access to the water it already owns the rights to.
“It would certainly allow for less hinderences to be able to eventually do what we want to do,” Brown said. “
Zinke’s report has not been made public, although he has said he has recommended boundary reductions for some of the sites.