Wind/Bighorn River Basin Advisory Group
October 9, 2001
The facilitator opened the meeting at approximately 3:10 pm and reviewed the agenda to
set the expectations for the meeting. Participants introduced themselves by stating their
name, affiliation, and place of residence. The facilitator then sent a sign-in sheet around
The next three Wind/Bighorn Basin Advisory Group meetings were then scheduled as
December 11th,Thermopolis, 3 p.m.
February 12th, Dubois, 3 p.m.
April 9th, Cody, 3 p.m.
Consultant Update – BRS Engineering, Inc.
Doug Beahm, BRS, discussed the progress of the attribution of water rights and the
profiling of water uses in the basin. Doug detailed the processes that would be followed.
Doug indicated that the first stage was to check infrared maps for water use and to
compare them to previously mapped lands. The second stage was to send this
information to Frank Carr in order to better define the water rights and ownership. The
third step was to review the maps a final time, then they would be sent to Tri Hydro
Corporation for digitization.
Irrigated Lands in the Bighorn River Basin – Lee Craig, Park County Executive
Lee Craig gave a presentation on the irrigated lands and associated crop production in the
Bighorn Basin. He began by passing out a handout showing statistics which detailed the
amount of irrigated land (by crop) which existed in the basin during crop year 2000. He
also pointed out that according to the Wyoming Agricultural Statistics 2001; 361,200
acres of land are irrigated, with a crop production value of $118.4 million. He further
stated that agriculture was the top industry in the area. Lee concluded his remarks and
the BAG then engaged in further discussion on the topic.
Water Requirements for Crop Production – Dr. Alan Gray, Director, UW Extension
and Research Center, Powell
Dr. Alan Gray gave a presentation on the water requirements for crop production in the
basin. He detailed various crops and their respective water requirements. Dr. Gray then
went on to discuss the pros and cons of using sprinklers and gravity flow for irrigation.
He also discussed methods for efficiently monitoring soil moisture, and detailed
characteristics of various soil types. According to Dr. Gray, several factors are
influencing crop production in the United States, including: the dairy industry, bottled
water, corn silage replacing alfalfa, and the production of alfalfa moving west.
Agricultural Issues in the Basin – Bryant Startin, Shoshone Irrigation District
Bryant Startin opened the discussion by stating that there were 36,000 acres in his
district. He noted that the majority of their water was obtained from Buffalo Bill
Reservoir storage. He then said that the district's first concern was water conservation.
In order to achieve such savings, he indicated that they focus on accurate water
measurements being taken. Bryant stated that there were 705 individual farm turnouts
and 260-miles of open drain in the system. He also stated that they are actively doing
what they can to avoid seepage in open laterals, and also trying to keep as much return
flow as possible. Bryant further stated that they recently completed a 15 million dollar
rehabilitation project, which yielded 27 miles of pipe, reconstructed 10 drop structures,
and gave them 116 new measuring devices.
Planning Team Issues – Barry Lawrence, WWDC
Barry Lawrence distributed a current BAG membership list. He stated that there would
be a few more additions before the list is finalized. Barry then discussed the progress of
the other basin planning efforts ongoing across the state. He invited attendees to
participate in any of the other basin planning activities in which individuals had interest.
Governor's Drought Management Task Force – Grant Stumbough, Wyoming
Department of Agriculture
Grant Stumbough opened his talk by detailing the current status of the dry conditions
across the State. He went on to mention that fourteen counties had already applied for
disaster designation and twelve had been designated. A copy of the Wyoming Drought
Plan was then handed out for the group's review.
Grant focused the remainder of his presentation on the Governor's Drought Management
Task Force and detailed the purpose and principles of the group, and defined the term
"drought". Grant indicated that the majority of the committee's work takes place in the
six subcommittees which exist, including: monitoring; drinking water, health and energy;
wildfire protection; tourism and economic implementation; communications; and
agriculture and natural resources. Grant went on to state the role of each of the
subcommittees and their current activities. Following Grant's presentation, the BAG
entered into a discussion of how the task force could operate in order to better assist
water users in the basin.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:07 p.m.