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Bear River Basin Advisory Group
Meeting Record
Cokeville, WY
April 20, 1998


The Bear River Basin Advisory Group met in Cokeville, Wyoming on April 20, 1998. After introductions and a welcome from the facilitator, the participants were given a number of presentations based upon information requests generated at the last meeting. Copies of various reports covering pertinent federal statutes, existing state water planning documents and copies of the Bear River Compact were distributed.

Aaron Waller of the Water Resources Center presented information on other state water planning efforts and the use of the Internet for sharing that information with affected interests. The current web site maintained by the WRC was also presented and demonstrations of information that can be accessed at that site were summarized.

Sue Lowry of the State Engineers Office presented information and slides on the history and current status of the Bear River Compact. This presentation generated a number of questions and Sue, Evan Green, Jeff Fassett and John Jackson provided additional insights on the compact, Wyoming water law and other issues. Gary Beach explained the role of DEQ in the establishment of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) regulations under the Clean Water Act and the advisory group was solicited for participation in future public involvement approaches on this issue.

Draft Basin Scope of Services

Participants were asked to review and begin generating comments on the scope of work document distributed at the last meeting. The facilitator reminded the group of their role under the Basin feasibility study and the need to provide the Planning Team with substantive input regarding the contents of future Basin plans.

Participants reviewed the goals and tasks summarized by the facilitator and were reminded that their input would determine the validity of these items as well as determine if there are additional items that need to be evaluated and analyzed once decision makers approve a planning process. To summarize, the draft Basin Scope of Services included the following goals:

  • Compile water data
  • Education and communication
  • Relaying information to decision makers
  • Provide guidance to state agencies
  • Provide information for water utilization
  • Address federal laws and regulations
  • Facilitate working relationships among users and regulators
  • Focus resource management and economic development
  • Identify existing uses
  • Facilitate habitat management
  • Develop alternate management opportunities

Tasks were presented to participants as follows:

  • Public outreach and involvement
  • Data acquisition (existing data, legal, water supply, climatic, water quality, water rights, ground water, economics, land use, water use, etc.)
  • Basin profile
  • Demand analysis and problem identification
  • Projections of future economic conditions
  • Future water demands
  • Solutions
  • Pilot plan contents

Mission Statement

The Basin Advisory Group adopted the following mission statement for future activities:

"Assist the Planning Team with identification of water and related resource issues, problems and concerns in the Bear River Basin. Using public participation throughout the planning process, develop recommendations for approaching these problems and concerns that address the needs of all affected interests. The group will also assist with development of an ongoing river basin planning template for other areas of the state by review and comment on the draft basin scope of services."

Problem Identification

The group was then asked to identify problems and concerns that should be addressed under a Basin Management Plan. Using the 14 issues identified through the statewide survey, the group chose to begin with agriculture. The group then identified the following items as examples of how a basin management plan would address agriculture:

  • Preservation of existing water rights
  • Evaluation of lands with agricultural potential and lands currently in agricultural production- this would also include an evaluation of the current distribution and allocation of water for this purpose
  • Water storage (potential and existing) and financing
  • Non points source and TMDL impacts on water quality
  • Efficiency of use, conservation and water management (would necessarily require that financing be addressed also)
  • Project and improvements financing
  • Recognition of agricultural differences within the basin
  • Stream bank protection
  • Diversification of land use practices
  • Responses to drought and flood cycles
  • Custom and culture

The group then recognized that most of the issues (14 from the survey) are interrelated and that it may be possible to prepare a list of problems and concerns that apply to all issues while recognizing there may be problems and concerns that are unique to any one issue.

The planning team and the facilitator agreed to prepare an exercise for the group to work on prior to the next meeting. This approach will allow the group to develop a more standardized listing of elements to be analyzed in a Bear River Basin Plan.

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