Wind/Bighorn River Basin Advisory Group
February 12, 2002
The facilitators for the Wind/Bighorn River Basin Advisory Group, Sherri Gregory-Schreiner and
Cathy Lujan, of Counterpoise Consulting, Inc. in Cheyenne, opened the meeting at 3:00 p.m. They
introduced themselves and reviewed the agenda for the meeting. Then the participants introduced
themselves by stating where they were located and their affiliation. The sign-in sheet was then passed
around the room.
Planning Team Issues
The next three basin advisory group meetings were scheduled as follows:
April 9th - 3 p.m. - Cody, WY
June 11th - 3 p.m. - Lander, WY
August 13th - 3 p.m. - Worland, WY
Barry Lawrence, WWDC River Basin Planner, distributed copies of past presentations to be added to
the basin advisory group reference notebook. Barry then updated the BAG on the status of the
planning process for the Snake/Salt, Powder/Tongue, Northeast, Bear and Green River Basins. He
detailed the current activities in each, as well as the invited BAG speakers, and consultant work in
progress (if applicable). He then invited interested individuals to attend any or all of the BAG
meetings in the other basins.
Water Resources Data System Update – Robin Gray, WRDS
Robin Gray with the Water Resources Data System gave an update on current activities of the unit and
discussed the current drought status of the Wind/Bighorn basin. Robin displayed information on
current snowpack levels and forecast trends. She stated that the Governor's Drought Task Force
would be meeting in Cheyenne on March 19. Robin indicated that some of the topics for discussion at
the meeting would include cloud seeding and long term drought patterns. Robin concluded her
discussion by handing out a list of pertinent water resource website addresses for use by the group.
GIS Mapping Activities - Leanne Brehob, Tri Hydro Corporation
Doug Beahm introduced Leanne Brehob from Tri Hydro Corporation. Tri Hydro is the firm
responsible for perfoming the GIS mapping of the basin. Leanne opened by defining that a
Geographical Information System (GIS) is an organized collection of computer hardware, software
and geographic data designed to efficiently capture, store, update, manipulate and analyze data. GIS
breaks down maps into layers so that the user can perform spatial and aspatial operations, as well as
manipulate and analyze the information.
Ms. Brehob then explained GIS' benefits to the project, including powerful analysis capabilities,
consistency of data, data standardization, spatial and descriptive data that are explicitly linked, the
ability for data users to view and manipulate data in the manner they choose, flexibility in data
retrieval, analysis and reporting, and the ability to customize user applications in a short period of
time. Ms. Brehob demonstrated how the information that has already been entered into the GIS could
show information about an irrigated area just by highlighting the desired area. The data that is being
utilized for this project include irrigated lands information, points of diversion, and water rights.
When completed, the information that has been collected will be available on CD and viewable in Arc
View and Arc Explorer. It should ultimately be available for download from the water planning
Economic Development in the Basin – Roger Bower, Wyoming Business Council
Roger Bower, Regional Director of the Wyoming Business Council, began his remarks by defining the
following economic development building blocks:
Leadership Development: process of encouraging our young people to aspire to leadership
roles in their communities.
Work Force Development: process of providing training opportunities for individuals which
would allow for potential.
Community Capacity Development: development of infrastructure for the community to
accommodate new businesses.
Entrepreneur Development: providing the ability for the interested company to develop and
grow in the community.
Existing Business Development: encouraging the growth of businesses already in the area.
Recruiting: going out and finding businesses to move into the area.
Mr. Bower stressed the importance of growing a community from within. He then discussed examples
of businesses in Fremont County such as the Brunton Company which is expanding. Mr. Bower
concluded by discussing the types of new businesses which might be attracted to the area.
Upper Wind River Compact Watershed Group – Mayor Bob Baker, Town of Dubois
Mayor Bob Baker started his presentation by giving the group some background on the Upper Wind
River Compact Watershed Group which was formed late last summer. Mayor Baker indicated that the
goal of the group was to become informed on the water resources, soil conservation, and
environmental protection issues that affect the Town of Dubois. Attendance at the meetings has
ranged from 20 to 50 individuals. Mayor Baker indicated that many of the members were in
attendance at this meeting.
Town of Dubois Issues – Mayor Bob Baker, Town of Dubois
Mayor Bob Baker addressed the issues that the Town of Dubois was concerned with relative to the
water resources of the area. He showed a map of the area, and discussed the importance of being on
the headwaters of the river basin. He went on to say that in the past there were multiple uses for public
lands' such as water, grazing, recreation, timber, and wildlife. Mayor Baker stated that recent
decisions have impacted logging and grazing. It was noted that recreation has also been limited
because of access issues.
Mayor Baker continued by saying that Dubois has experienced a lot of pressure on their infrastructure
due to the loss of timber and livestock as resources. In an effort to recover from their economic loss,
the town's infrastructure was neglected. Mayor Baker said that one problem was that their wastewater
system was out of date. He noted that they have an adequate water supply for now, however the
town's water comes from a shallow aquifer. Ultimately, they are concerned about their water source.
While their water is currently of decent quality and quantity, there is no guarantee of it remaining so.
He stated that another concern was that of storm runoff, causing gravel and dirt from the streets to
wash into the Wind River. Mayor Baker indicated that paved streets and storm drains would help limit
the impact of such events.
TMDL's and Effects on Watershed Planning – Chuck Harnish, DEQ
Chuck Harnish with the Department of Environmental Quality opened by stating that the 2002 303(d)
list of impaired streams would be available for review at the local conservation district until March 1st,
and could also be obtained through DEQ's website. Mr. Harnish explained the report gives an
assessment of water quality. The 303(d) list details the impaired streams, or stream reaches not
meeting designated classification. Standards have been arrived at for each stream through numerical
data (dissolved solids, PH, temperature, etc.) and narrative data (sediment, wildlife, aquatic life,
anything that is unmeasurable). The credible data concept is implemented during this process, which
means that when data is collected it has to follow collection protocols.
Mr. Harnish further explained that once a stream has been listed as impaired, then either a total
maximum daily load (TMDL) will be written or a locally led watershed plan needs to be developed
and implemented. He stated that funding was available through DEQ for addressing water quality
concerns and assisting with the development of a watershed plan. The local group must then show
progress in addressing the identified impairments of the stream or stream segment.
Public Comment Period – Reg Phillips, Dubois/Crowheart Conservation District
Mr. Phillips opened by defining the area that the Dubois/Crowheart Conservation District covers,
including the upper portions of the Wind River basin. He then passed out the district's annual report
and plan for the future, which described their programs and activities. A focus for the district is the
water quality assessment, which is a three-year project that began in 2001.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:55 p.m.