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Bear River Basin Advisory Group
The Bear River Basin Advisory group heard a presentation by Cindy
Garretson-Weibel, of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, regarding the
Agricultural interest "white paper" on water planning policy issues. This
publication is available from all participating organizations.
June 22, 1998
The group also received a presentation by Jack Smith of the Wyoming DEQ on
the issues surrounding TMDL establishment and other elements of the Clean
Water Act. Mr. Smith responded to a number a specific questions from the
advisory group concerning local citizen influence on the TMDL process.
The group spent the remainder of the meeting evaluating basin water issues.
Five categories of issues that had been previously discussed and submitted
by the group were reviewed. The list of recommendations was amended and
expanded and the results of these discussions are presented below:
Bear River Basin Advisory Group
Water Planning Issue Recommendations
A Comprehensive Bear River Basin Plan should address:
1) WATER ALLOCATION
- a) Prioritization of agricultural water rights when considering all water issues.
- b) Prioritization of municipal water rights when considering all water issues.
- c) Limits and opportunities of current Bear River Compact allocations.
- d) Water storage opportunities (off channel/upstream).
- e) Funding sources to increase efficient allocations/distributions of water.
- f) Reviewing Bear River Compact strengths and weaknesses.
- g) Agricultural use benefits to current flow regimes.
- h) Instream flow laws and application procedure definitions.
- i) "Out of basin" transfer negative impacts.
- j) Beneficial "in basin" transfer opportunities.
- k) Establishment of historic baseline flow conditions.
- l) The negative secondary impacts of water transfers from Agriculture.
- m) Protections for communities using agricultural water.
- n) The defense/preservation of the Prior Appropriation Doctrine.
- o) Definitions of groundwater rights.
- p) Definition of water use property rights for transfers.
- q) Avoiding a "Platte River" legal situation.
- r) Evaluate "out-of-basin" transfers and the possibility to "credit" additional flows in-basin
- s) Marketing of excess water as a state controlled commodity
- t) Evaluate ground water storage
2) WATER QUALITY (WQ)
- a) Insurance of local citizen input to all WQ standards.
- b) Existing agricultural use benefits to/impacts on water quality.
- c) Creation of Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) standards.
- d) Specific strategies to solve WQ problems.
- e) Monitoring of Industrial discharges.
- f) Preventing Unfunded mandates but encouraging WQ improvement funding.
- g) Coordination of efforts among neighboring states.
- h) Insuring continued discharge permits for municipalities: .
- i) Adequate flows for waste discharge.
- j) Groundwater monitoring as priority.
- k) Establishment of historic baseline WQ conditions.
- l) Using Conservation Districts to solve WQ problems.
- m) Benefit/Cost Analysis of Water Quality Solutions.
- n) Enforcement of industrial pollution laws.
- o) Management of non-point source monitoring activities.
- p) More aggressive WQ monitoring by Wyoming agencies.
- q) TMDLs: municipal vs. non-point source contributor conflicts.
- r) Siltation/erosion/channelization
- s) Fertilizer and pesticide residue.
- t) Non-point source control.
- u) Sewage system adequacy.
- v) Mine reclamation and impact mitigation.
- w) Establish TMDLs by tributary rather than drainage
- x) More aggressive state involvement in water quality monitoring
- y) Plan should provide a historical perspective of water quality
- z) Water quality needs must also protect existing water rights
- aa) Local involvement in how water quality standards are met
- bb) Utilize local watershed management planning in lieu of TMDL establishment
- cc) Evaluate roadway (highways, roads, railroads, etc.) impacts on water quality
3) FUTURE DEMANDS AND GROWTH
- a) Researching potential efficiency gains to improve allocations and/or distribution.
- b) Increased demand conflicts and where they may occur.
- c) Emphasizing new technology for solutions.
- d) Protection for traditional Agricultural heritage and way of life.
- e) Upper division Storage opportunities.
- f) The effects of growth on groundwater supplies.
- g) Future water development funding to meet new needs and address regulation.
- h) Definitions of the best future uses of water?
- i) Private land access issues/river fencing issues.
- j) Public education on the full range of water interest viewpoints.
- k) Storage opportunities on Smith's Fork Drainage.
- l) Subdivision growth and domestic waste water.
- m) Water use conflicts in times of drought.
- n) Open space issues.
- o) Land and water availability for development.
- p) Water storage as a tool for emergency planning.
- q) River corridor parkways.
- r) More efficient urban water (lawn) use.
- s) Broadening the public's ideas about potential uses.
- t) Growth in down stream states.
- u) Floodplain construction.
- v) Private Disaster Insurance
- w) Highway construction impacts
- x) Evaluate stream bank stabilization as opposed to channelization
4) HABITAT WILDLIFE & FISHERIES
- a) Agricultural water use benefits and impacts to habitat, fisheries and wetlands.
- b) Compatible water uses between consumptive and non-consumptive users.
- c) Instream flow laws and application procedure definitions.
- d) Multipurpose benefits of water storage projects.
- e) Define benefits/impediments to habitat, wetlands and fisheries.
- f) Wildlife that positively impact water quality.
- g) Streambank overuse and erosion/vegetation destruction.
- h) Minimum Stream Flows for habitat/fish fowl species.
- i) Minimum reservoir pools for boating/fishing/ recreation.
- j) Potential for exemptions from the ESA by showing ag. use benefits.
- k) Definitions of "beneficial" environmental uses?
- l) Recreation impacts on habitat.
- m) Impacts of big game overpopulation.
- n) Industrial impacts on wildlife.
- o) Stream bank restoration.
- p) Exploring compatibility between industrial and wildlife uses.
- q) Hunting and fishing as a traditional way of life.
- r) Adequate grazing rotations.
- s) Use local involvement to define "best" and "beneficial" uses
- a) Economic Development that minimizes impacts on agricultural uses.
- b) Economic analysis of water quality measures.
- c) Opportunities for new irrigated lands development.
- d) Value added and technological opportunities for agricultural water users.
- e) Water Related Hunting/Fishing revenue sources.
- f) User fee income.
- g) Emphasizing Industrial partnerships to find solutions.
- h) Definitions of "beneficial" economic uses?
- i) Solution Cost Sharing among user groups.
- j) Water Quality as an industrial cost item.
- k) Selling/leasing water to pay for upstream storage and general economic benefit.
- l) Recreational user conflicts with traditional water users.
- m) Coalbed methane produced water.
- n) Water rate structures for solution funding.
- o) Taxes that fund water development.
- p) Tax base/ability to pay issues.
- q) Quantification of Agricultural benefits to habitat and therefore to recreation/tourism.
- r) Water price increases to fund solutions.
- s) Recreation/tourism as a way to diversify the economy.