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Bear River Basin Advisory Group
Meeting Record
Lincoln County Public Library
August 9, 1999

Welcome and Introductions

Facilitator, John Talbot, started off the meeting with introductions of the members of the Bear River Basin Advisory Group, the consultants and the state staff, including members of the Wyoming Water Development Commission, WRDS, State Engineers Office, and finally the general public in attendance. Mr. Talbot also introduced his replacement, Joe Lord. Mr. Lord gave a brief history on himself and how he came to be selected as the new facilitator. Next, John Talbot summarized the agenda and expectations for the meeting.

Development of Programs for Local Presentations

The group asked for the State Planning Team to produce a video that explained what the water planning process is all about. In order to clarify what was expected, Talbot asked the group if they could be more specific as to what they wanted. Three potential formats were discussed:

  • Computer presentation, Power Point
  • Video, 10-15 minutes
  • Handouts

There was some discussion as to who the group is trying to reach with these programs, what the message is, and whether this is the groups responsibility. The mission statement was read again. The group feels that it is important to inform the public and try to get more people involved. Everyone agreed that the more information that the public has, the better their response will be at a later date. The group feels each member is responsible to represent the people in their area and to get information out to the public.

Sue Lowry, State Engineers Office, stated that the planning team would start working on an informational handout for the members to use in the near future, but that a video will take longer to put together. The video will include information on the river basin planning process and the purpose of the Basin Advisory Groups, with similar information also available on the website.

BAG Membership Issues and Alternates

There were changes in the membership at the last meeting. New members were contacted and asked if they wanted to participate. Additional contacts will be made to finalize the membership.

Issues Identification

It was the consensus of the group that the issues that have already been identified are a good starting point. This is a work in progress and issues can be added as they come to the groups attention. The reason for the list is to give the consultant a starting point on basin issues to be addressed in the plan. Assignment of municipal water rights and water transfers continue to be major concerns.

Informational Presentations

Executive summary of consultant work tasks - Clarence Kemp, Forsgren and Associates.

Clarence discussed the tasks in his scope of services as relates to the issues previously identified by the basin advisory group. A handout detailing this information was presented to the group.

Additional topics discussed included:

Guiding Principles - a tool for Wyoming to manage its own resources
Prior Wyoming law/appropriation doctrine
Public Trust
GIS/Digital input
Bear River as a prototype basin plan
Agency Coordination (WRDS, OGIS, etc.)
Green River Coordination
Public Sensitivity
A Living or Master Plan
Digital data/GIS/mapping
Continuous update of water data and reference materials

Purposes of Planning

Data Gathering and Centralization
GIS/Digital Input
Accurate physical understanding of basin
Wet year/dry year/average year
Identify conflicting usage, excess availability, etc.
Prevent/defend potential litigation (avoid a repeat of the Platte River)
Growth and management tool
Within context of Compact and Wyoming Water Law
Reflective of Public/BAG input
Future opportunities/concerns
Provide data for understanding decision implications

Clarence explained the basin planning process and products with a flow chart. He outlined the responsibilities of the consulting team, which is made up of Forsgren & Associates, Leonard Rice Consulting Water Engineers Inc, Anderson Consulting, and BBC Consulting.

Water Rights Attribution - Mike O'Grady, Frank Carr, States West Water Resources

Mike described the water rights attribution work that will be done as a part of the Bear River Basin Plan, and Frank explained the process and how this information is useful for river basin planning and other interests. They pointed out that water rights attribution would be done for both groundwater and surface water, but this is not a comparison of the water rights of record to what is actually being irrigated. There will be no mapping of water rights geographic boundaries.

Future Meetings

The September 13, 1999 meeting is scheduled in Cokeville for 6:00 PM at the Cokeville Town Hall. The group decided to switch to an every other month format beginning with the next meeting. There will not be a meeting in October, so the next meeting will be on November 8, 1999 in Evanston.

John Talbot reminded members of the need to turn in biographical questionnaires.

The meeting adjourned at 9:20 PM.

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