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Bear River Basin Advisory Group
Meeting Record
Kemmerer, Wyoming
January 10, 2000


The meeting opened on Monday, January 10th, 2000, at 6:20 p.m. at the Lincoln County Library in Kemmerer, Wyoming. Joe Lord, the facilitator for the group, dispersed copies of the agenda. The attendance sign-in list was also circulated at this time.

Planning Team Issues

Administrative Issues - Jodie Jackson of the Wyoming Water Development Commission distributed information regarding a new attendee sign-in system. Ms. Jackson also explained a new system to improve project-mailing procedures. A revised Table of Contents sheet was distributed for inclusion in Bag notebooks.

Future Meetings & Locations - Mr. Lord conducted a discussion relative to future meeting locations. It was noted that future meetings are to be held on March 13th in Cokeville and May 8th in Evanston. It was asked if the 6pm time frame was still agreeable with everyone. Receiving no negative response, the 6pm meeting time will remain.

Additional Wyoming Basin Plans - Jon Wade, of the Wyoming Water Development Commission staff, presented a slide show discussing implementation costs pertaining to the next set of proposed basin plans. Mr. Wade said that the WWDC will be requesting authorization from the state legislature for $800,000 to conduct basin planning for the Powder/Tongue and NE Wyoming Basins. He indicated that appropriations to cover in-house staffing required for basin planning are now a part of their normal agency budget.

Open houses for River Basin Planning are scheduled for January 25th, in Buffalo at Colonel Bozeman's from 4pm until 7pm and January 26th in Newcastle (location to be announced) also from 4pm until 7pm. The first NE Wyoming and Powder / Tongue Basin Advisory Group formation meetings are scheduled to take place in April and June of 2000.

Consultant Update

Clarence Kemp, of Forsgren Associates, was introduced and preceded with an update relative to the Bear River Basin Planning process. His remarks focused on basin modeling criteria and procedures. This information was initially scheduled for presentation by Brad Anderson of Anderson Consulting. Brad could not make the meeting due to bad weather conditions.

Basin Modeling - Mr. Kemp gave a PowerPoint presentation showing schematics of the primary river reaches with key gaging points, primary control structures, etc. He also presented a graphically illustrated annual flow diagram; key gaging stations list, and a summary of the annual stream flow data. Copies of the slides were handed out to the BAG.

Mr. Kemp indicated that spreadsheet basin modeling would be generated and calibrated based on specific annual flow and diversion data due to the excellent record availability in the Bear River Basin. This will be done in addition to the "wet year", "average year", and "dry year" representative models specified in the engineering contract. The period of 1971 to 1995 was selected for model calibration based on records and inclusion of wet and dry years. The "wet year" and "dry year" conditions will be based on the 20th percentile of recorded stream flows. Based on suggestions from the BAG, it was agreed to reconsider including 1996-1997 in the modeling database, as they were reflective of relatively wet years.

Mr. Kemp talked about the water regulation issues, Bear River Compact issues, and their impact on what can and can't be done in regards to the water in Wyoming. He also discussed how they impact the water users in the State of Wyoming.

Mr. Kemp added that the intent of the model is to provide a "user friendly" method of analysis that can be used now and in the future. The model will allow decision makers to better understand the probable water related impacts and benefits of various types of development and growth within the context of the Bear River Compact.

Mr. Kemp offered his office phone # (307) 789-6735 in the event anyone had questions to ask or concerns to share after the meeting.

Bear River Compact and the Three State Agreement relative to the PacifiCorp and Scottish Power Merger

This presentation was made by Sue Lowry, Director for Policy and Administration, Wyoming State Engineer's Office. Ms. Lowry discussed the current status of the merger between PacifiCorp and Scottish Power, specifically as they relate to Bear River operations and compact issues.

During the merger approval process with the Public Utilities Commission in October 1999, the State of Idaho raised the possibility of requiring PacifiCorp to subordinate their water rights to other uses as a condition of the mergers approval. Wyoming and Utah were concerned that this requirement could change historic water use practices and potentially impact those states under the Bear River Compact. She discussed Bear Lake and the impacts associated with the lake's elevation change.

In order to address the potential merger, the three compact states entered into an agreement essentially stating that Scottish Power would not significantly change historic operational practices of the river. PacifiCorp is presently working to better define and document those practices. In addition, they have indicated a willingness to maintain a somewhat higher lake elevation than required by the compact based on historic practice.


Informational Presentations:

Wyoming Business Council - Len Woolley, Southwest Regional Director of the Wyoming Business Council, disbursed handouts and discussed their "Five-Year Strategic Plan" to diversify and strengthen Wyoming's employment and wage base. The Business Council's primary focus targets the overall growth of the State's economy.

Mr. Woolley discussed his desire in focusing on the rural areas of development as opposed to larger urban areas such as Casper, Cheyenne, etc. Mr. Woolley is currently studying ways to create new jobs and increase wage levels. It is his feeling that the youth in our area move out of the communities after high school and/or college due to the lack of employment opportunities, thus enhancing reasons for targeting rural areas.

Mr. Woolley said that it is his feeling that the State should place more effort on creating water reserves for future use. He feels the current supply will not be able to meet the future demand. He also discussed using recycled water as a means to reduce water use in the future.

Mr. Woolley discussed how Wyoming is perceived nationally. Wyoming doesn't have a large population, the state isn't viewed the same as other larger states. He stated that the Wyoming Business Council is working to bring local and state agencies together to better focus business development efforts and efficiency. Local efforts especially need to center on bringing Wyoming into the "national eye". He said that these issues do not begin at the state level, but locally.

The BAG raised the subject of new industry. Mr. Woolley feels two major industries that would be an excellent source of revenue for Wyoming are in telecommunications and plastics. He stated that water issues would be a key factor in all growth and development.

Local Business Council - Mark Mickelson, South Lincoln Economic Development Corporation, spoke of economic development in the area. Mr. Mickelson is employed by several banks in and around Lincoln County and has been involved with many other types of business in the county for the past 12 years.

Mr. Mickelson talked briefly about businesses and employment opportunities available in the Kemmerer area. He then discussed his concern for Wyoming communities with people leaving due to lack of job opportunities, limited shopping and other services. He pointed out that many older buildings in Kemmerer are vacant. Businesses are not locating in Kemmerer because they often do not feel that the town will offer enough trade to justify relocating to the area. He is concerned about the job opportunities and the pay scale for future generations. He also stated that there are enough schools currently, but not enough housing.

Agricultural issues were also brought to light regarding the South Lincoln County area. Clarence Kemp added that he felt that the Cokeville area had much to offer in terms of infrastructure, but was limited in land for development. Mr. Mickelson discussed the Cokeville area, particularly in relation to the nearby ski resort. He said they have some development ideas for the area, but they are not quite ready to proceed with them.

He welcomed questions and/or suggestions for improvements. No more questions were asked, thus closing his presentation.

Meeting adjourned - 8:38 p.m.

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