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Bear River Basin Advisory Group
Uinta County Library, Evanston, WY
November 5, 2001
River Basin Planner Barry Lawrence welcomed the group and the meeting was
called to order at 6:01 p.m. All attendees introduced themselves, followed by a
review of the overall meeting agenda. A sign-in sheet was passed around to
record attendance. Future meetings are scheduled for March 18, 2002 in
Cokeville, WY and July 15, 2002 in Kemmerer, WY.
Bear River Commission Report
Federal Chair of the Bear River Commission, Denice Wheeler, presented an
update of several ongoing issues within the basin:
- The Bonneville Cutthroat Trout has not been placed on the endangered
- The State of Idaho has announced its intentions to not agree to the model
for determining groundwater depletions as set by the Bear Lake
Settlement Agreement. This issue will be discussed at a meeting of the
Bear River Commission on November 13 at 1:00 p.m. in Salt Lake City at
the Natural Resources Building.
- The Water Quality Committee of the Bear River Commission has received
a $30,000 EPA grant to perform water studies of the Bear River. A draft
RFP is being prepared for a grant coordinator.
- In an effort to reduce drawdown on Bear Lake, additional storage sites
being discussed are Smiths Fork, Oneida, and Rocky Point. A point of
consensus was that a large facility with storage allocated to Idaho, Utah,
and Wyoming would be beneficial.
- A dredging permit for removal of 80,000 cubic feet of sand and sediment
for channel deepening in association with Bear Lake has been approved.
- Due to the drought, water ceased to be released from Bear Lake on
September 7, 2001 when the lake's water elevation dropped to 5912 feet.
- An upcoming symposium and tour is being considered for Summer 2002.
The core sampling currently being performed at Bear Lake would be
included in the discussions.
Regional Water System Discussion
Mayor Pete Moesser, Town of Bear River, discussed the need for domestic
drinking water in the newly incorporated community. The town has a population
of 441, and most of the homes are served by individual wells. The potential for
contamination exists due to the nature of the flood plain and the alluvial aquifer.
A Level II feasibility study and well exploration with TriHydro Corporation is
ongoing. Discussion then centered around the need for either additional wells
and a storage tank or a 10 mile pipeline from Evanston's water supply system. It
was noted that the Town of Bear River desires a reliable and good quality water
source. City of Evanston Mayor Bill Davis addressed a secure water supply in
conjunction with Sulphur Creek Reservoir, and the needs of the outlying areas.
Future Water Use Opportunities in the Bear River Basin
Clarence Kemp of Forsgren Associates distributed a draft Executive Summary of
the Bear River Basin Water Plan. Clarence indicated that availability of irrigation
water in the late summer months and return flows in the lower reaches would
suffer impacts if the upper reaches practiced conservation measures. He further
indicated that additional storage reservoir sites, other than the identified Smiths
Fork site, had not been a priority as identified by the Bear River Basin Advisory
Group. Discussion then followed regarding groundwater and surface water
Water Development Commission Report
Jon Wade, River Basin Planning Administrator, indicated that approximately 65
new applications and on-going projects had been received for the 2002 program.
Opportunities in Southwest Wyoming include: Alpine Raw Water, Pinedale
Intake, Little Snake River Small Dams Phase II, Bridger Valley Joint Powers
Board Raw Water Transmission Line and Storage, Baggs Master Plan, Church
Reservoir (Green River ASR), Pinedale Hydropower, North Alpine Water Supply,
Viva Naughton Enlargement, and Green River Supply Canal projects.
Barry Lawrence updated the BAG on the status of the plans for the other basins.
The BAGs for the Snake/Salt and the Wind/Bighorn Basins met October 8 and 9;
whereas the Powder/Tongue and Northeast Wyoming BAGs met October 10 and
11. Barry discussed the status of the four studies, and the schedule for future
State Engineer's Office Report
Jade Henderson, Division 4 Superintendent for the Wyoming State Engineer's
Office, presented an update on the 2001 irrigation season. He indicated that
there had been no interstate regulation in the upper division, but that there had
been state regulation back to 1880 water rights within the division. Sulphur
Creek Reservoir did fill, but Whitney and Woodruff Reservoirs did not.
Water Resources Data System Report
Robin Gray gave a brief overview of the current activities of the Water Resources
Data System (WRDS). She also reported that Jan Curtis had been hired as the
new WRDS coordinator and appointed by Governor Geringer as the State
Climatologist. Additional data now available through the WRDS website includes
a monthly climate report, drought monitor/studies, and links to other regional and
national data sources. Documents recently placed online include the Green
River Basin technical memos and final report, a water conservation directory, and
GIS products. Robin indicated that she was also currently updating the State of
Wyoming water supply system report. Finally, Robin mentioned two other
projects that WRDS were engaged in, including:
- Aquifer characteristics and groundwater quality in the Powder River Basin.
- Online landslide project mapping in Teton County. The second phase in
Lincoln and Uinta Counties has yet to be done.
Bonneville Cutthroat Trout Update
Pete Cavalli, Wyoming Game & Fish Department, addressed the September 28,
2001 finding by the US Fish & Wildlife Service not to list the Bonneville Cutthroat
Trout as endangered. He indicated that during a 12-month study, 291
populations of trout were found in 852 miles of stream habitat and 70,059 acres
of lake habitat. Pete indicated that ongoing problems with habitat degradation
and hybridization with Rainbow Trout are being dealt with by federal and state
agencies, as well as tribal entities.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:55 p.m.