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Water Development Office

Bear River Basin Advisory Group
Meeting Record of March 11, 1998

John Talbott opened the meeting by introducing participants and interested publics. Members of the planning team, Jeff Fassett (State Engineer) and John Jackson (Deputy Director for the Water Development Commission) were also introduced as was Water Development Commissioner Kevin Behunin. A brief review of the agenda was provided to the participants as follows:

Welcome and Introductions
Ground Rules
Establishment of meeting dates
Selection of Alternates
Technical Review Teams
Planning Interface
Pilot Project Consultants and Scope of Work
Companion Efforts on the Smith Fork
Geographic Information System (GIS) Components
Process Elements
Issue Development
Public Involvement
Action Items

Ground Rules

The following ground rules were adopted for use by the Basin Advisory Group to be used at all subsequent meetings:

  • No side conversations
  • No finger pointing
  • No personal Attacks
  • Wait to be recognized by the facilitator
  • All decisions will be consensus decisions
  • Alternate opinions will be encouraged
  • Members will stay on task
  • Members will be accountable to the group
  • Members will be committed to the group and the process
  • Members will not "champion" their specific causes outside the group
  • Interested publics can be used to resolve group issues
  • Have fun

Meeting Dates

Participants agreed to meet an additional five times between this date and the September deadline. To meet widely diverse schedules and to address the need to hold meetings throughout the basin, the following schedule was developed:

April 20, 1998 - Cokeville, Wyoming
May 18, 1998 - Evanston, Wyoming
June 22, 1998 - Kemmerer, Wyoming
July 20, 1998 - Cokeville, Wyoming
August 17, 1998 - Evanston, Wyoming

Meetings will be held beginning at 6:00 p.m. with the exception of one meeting that will be held as an all day meeting to be determined by the group at a later date.

Technical Review Teams

The group was challenged to identify technical resources that could be available to the group on an "as needed" basis and also to identify agency representatives that could serve as a technical committee present at all subsequent meetings. The following agencies will be requested to provide representatives for a technical committee to participate with the advisory group at future meetings:

  • Water Development Commission
  • Water Resources Center
  • State Engineers Office
  • Department of Environmental Quality
  • Game and Fish Department
  • County Planners

Other agencies that will be invited to assist the group with specific issues as necessary include:

  • Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Forest Service
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service

Planning Interface

Evan Green of the Water Development Commission explained the involvement of the consulting firm retained to assist with development of the pilot project. Boyle Engineering will be developing a large amount of the data requirements necessary to prepare the Feasibility Study. This includes the level of analysis required and how best to effectively implement the process. Preparation of cost estimates and public involvement is another component that will be developed by the consultant. Evan Simpson will serve as liaison to the Basin Advisory Group for public involvement purposes.

Evan Green also explained the irrigated lands mapping activities of the Commission for the Smith Fork Irrigation District. These activities, which are independent of the pilot project will serve as valuable information for predicting costs and levels of analyses for the Bear River Basin.

Evan demonstrated existing GIS technologies that will be evaluated during the Feasibility Study. The essential elements of GIS applicability were discussed as were those components that can be applied to the Bear River Basin.

Process Elements

Participants were asked to discuss specific needs for addressing the issues identified in the initial meeting. The purpose of this exercise was to have the Advisory Group begin to examine the necessary components of a Basin Management Plan. In other words, if a plan is prepared to address all issues identified in the statewide survey and those additional items articulated at the initial meeting, what information would be both necessary and compelling when exploring those issues within the plan. The following materials were requested by the group in advance of the next meeting:

  • Copies of the 1973 framework plan
  • Examples other states water plans
  • An overview of Available GIS Data
  • Bear Compact Information
  • Current Water use Information
  • Basin Population Trends
  • List of impaired streams in the Basin (TMDLs)
  • Outlines of State and Federal Legislation

Observations indicated some members were requesting information necessary to construct a basin the plan as opposed to identifying the information necessary for a plan to adequately address the aforementioned issues. This issue will be revisited at the next meeting to insure members understand their role within the feasibility study of identifying all issues and needs of potentially affected interests within the Basin. The interaction of the Basin Advisory Group, Boyle Engineering and state water planners can then produce a recommendation to state decision makers regarding all elements and issues that must be addressed within a Basin Water Plan. The information produced by the Basin Advisory Group will be critical to understanding the needs of water users, constituents and political subdivisions such that future water basin planning efforts are responsive to and supported by the widest possible assemblage of affected interests.

The facilitator and representatives from state water planning agencies will continue to work with the Basin Advisory Group to better define group roles and expectations throughout the process. The Advisory Group is essential to gaining an understanding of how best to meet the needs of a variety of interests. Through this understanding we hope to achieve broad stakeholder support for the design and implementation of future planning efforts.

April 20th Meeting

This meeting will serve to begin gelling group member's discussions on divergent views of how the State can best plan for the use of its water resources in the Bear River Basin. We expect to encourage and challenge these viewpoints to expose competing interests. More importantly, we hope to examine and explore opportunities for review and resolution of applicable issues to the Bear River Basin. For future planning efforts to be viewed as beneficial, it will be important to identify underlying issues, regulatory impediments and data gaps that prevent us from devising the best plan possible. In essence, the Advisory Group will help to define what issues should be addressed in the plan, at what level of analysis, and how best to describe these issues for the largest audience possible.

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