Bear River Basin Advisory Group
May 8, 2000
Introduction - The meeting opened on Monday, May 8, 2000, at 6:10 p.m. at the Uinta
County Library in Evanston, Wyoming. Joe Lord, the facilitator for the group, dispersed copies
of the agenda. The attendance sign-in list was also circulated at this time.
Future Meetings & Locations - Mr. Lord conducted a discussion relative to future
meeting locations. It was noted that future meetings are to be held on July 10 in Kemmerer,
Sept. 11 in Cokeville and Nov. 6 in Evanston. Meetings will begin at 6pm.
Bear River Tour - John Teichert discussed the Bear River Tour being organized by
the Bear River Commission. The tour is planned for Aug. 9th and Aug. 10th. They are planning to
tour the Lower Division this year. They are hoping the Upper and Central division residents will
plan to attend this tour to learn about the Lower Division. A bus will leave Bear Lake on the 9th
and the tour will be completed on the 10th. The tour is by reservation only; anyone interested can
contact Jack Barnett at 801-292-4662. There will be a nominal fee for the tour.
NE Wyoming Planning Process - Jon Wade reported on the status of the NE
Wyoming Planning Process. Jon updated the group on the BAG process and gave them the
direction the meetings will take in the future. The NE Wyoming Bag met in Sundance last
month, the Powder Tongue BAG met in Sheridan. The June meetings will be held in Newcastle
and Buffalo respectively, with future meetings scheduled on a bi-monthly basis throughout the
Consultant Update / General - Clarence Kemp, of Forsgren Associates, was
introduced. Forsgren Associates has been focusing on economic aspects with Mr. Ed Harvey of
BBC Consulting. Mr. Kemp indicated that the Basin Planning effect was about quality of life in
the basin. This involves environmental quality, recreation, life style, etc. An essential element of
quality of life, of course, is economics.
Basin Economics and Future Use Opportunities- Ed Harvey and Doug Jeavons are
with BBC Research and Consulting. BBC is the economic, financial and market research firm
preparing the water demand forecast for the Bear River Basin Study. This requires economic and
demographic projections. BBC has acquired economic data about the Basin from publication and
secondary sources. They indicated they would be in town for the next few days visiting with a
number of people in the area and gathering information. BBC presented a number of graphs and
information to the Basin group. The topics were Current Demographic Condition, Current
Economic Conditions (personal income and employment), Focus on Agriculture, Focus on
Mineral and Energy, Alternative Forecasting Techniques, etc. Mr. Harvey and Mr. Jeavons
encouraged BAG members to join the discussion relative to local economic history and trends.
They also requested help with additional data sources and contacts in the community.
Some of the public concerns and comments were as follows:
Karen Henry asked why the population was still growing in the 90's. Denice Wheeler suggested
that the growth now is from the fact we are the back door to Salt Lake City. Some of the reasons
people are moving here are the low cost of living, our tax base, the outdoors access and the
beauty of the area. Ms. Wheeler felt that the Olympics coming to Salt Lake City in 2002 would
result in many people visiting Evanston and ultimately taking up residence.
Gordon Parks gave a summary of the oil boom and associated economic growth in the area.
Ralph Stahley stated a lot of the people have stayed in Evanston because the income base has
increased due to this oil boom, and the job opportunity has increased as well. The group
consensus was that the number of irrigated acres in the basin will likely remain fairly level due to
the marginal economics of single-crop farming. A decrease could come from the available water
limitations and higher cost of utilities. The question was asked if the cattle inventory would
increase or decrease. Craig Lowham felt there would be a decrease because some of the
ranchers are selling their land for high prices and getting out of the ranching business. It was also
felt that BLM land availability has a great effect on the number of cattle being raised. The
ranchers must move their cattle to summer range in order to produce the hay needed for the
Break from 8:10 to 8:20
Wasatch-Cache Forest Management Plan -This presentation was made by Steve
Ryberg & Charlie Condrat of the U.S. Forest Service. It was pointed out that Forest Plans
provide a long-range guide for all natural resource management activities (what) and the
establishment of management requirements for implementation (how) on the National Forests.
The Wasatch-Cache Forest Plan covers 1.2 million acres including 371,439 acres of the
headwaters of the Bear and Green River (North Slope of the Uintas).
Each National Forest is required by law to revise its Forest Plan every 10 to 15 years. The first
Wasatch-Cache Plan was last completed in 1985.The Forest Service has been actively involved
in revising the Plan for over a year. Many public meetings and mass mailings have been
conducted to provide public involvement in the planning process. Some of the decisions to be
made in the Forest Plan Revision are the establishment of goals and criteria needed to ensure
watershed health and restoration. The plan will also address the kind of protection appropriate
for rivers found eligible by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Inventory. Five segments are eligible for
wild and senic status in the Bear River Drainage. The concerns expressed by the BAG were
relative to the quantity and time of surface water run off and the impacts (positive or negative) of
clear cutting. There was also a question related to the timber take (has it increased or
decreased?). The draft forest plan revision will be out this summer, with a final plan scheduled
for this winter. Anyone wanting more information can visit the website at www.fs.fed.us/wcnf/ or request hard copies of current
information from Kelli Murray (801-534-3981) or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org /
Handout on the Forest Plan Revision
Instream Flows - Mr. John Barnes, Wyoming State Engineer's Office, presented
information on Instream Flow Water Rights. The instream flow water right is the only non-
consumptive permitted water right. The State of Wyoming is the only entity who can hold an
instream flow water right. Another unique aspect of the instream water rights law is that it set up
a "three entity process" / "three step process" for approval. First, the Game and Fish Department
identifies a stream segment and completes a biological study and modeling effort. They use three
different models for evaluation:
b) HQI - Habitat Quality Index
c) Habitat Retention
This information is then given to the Water Development Commission who becomes the
applicant and holder of the water right if it is issued. Second, the Water Development
Commission then prepares a hydrologic study and report that models the physical and
legal availability of water to meet the biological needs. Once the biological and
hydrological reports are completed and given to the State Engineer's Office, a public
hearing is held to obtain input from the public. This is the only water right which requires
a public hearing during the permitting process. After all three steps are complete, then
the State Engineer's Office can review the information and make a decision regarding
approving or denying the application. Game & Fish cannot condemn or seek
abandonment of an existing right to obtain water for instream flows. An instream flow
permit also does not grant ingress or egress through private property. A city or town by
contrast, may condemn any portion of an stream flow water right for municipal
purposes. The State Engineer's Office receives 4 to 6 applications per year for
Instream Flow Permits.
Wyoming Instream Flow Applications
Meeting adjourned - 9:45p.m.