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Wind/Bighorn River Basin Advisory Group
Meeting Record
Thermopolis, WY
October 8, 2002


The facilitators for the Wind/Bighorn 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. Participants introduced themselves by stating their name, place of residence, and affiliation. The sign-in sheet was passed around the room.

The next three basin advisory group meetings were then scheduled as follows:

Tuesday, December 17, 2002, 3:00 p.m. - Powell
Tuesday, January 28, 2003, 3:00 p.m. - Riverton
Tuesday, April 1, 2003, 3:00 p.m. - Cody

Planning Team Issues

Barry Lawrence, WWDC River Basin Planner, distributed handouts from the last BAG meeting held in Worland. Barry updated the group on the status of the planning processes for the Snake/Salt, Powder/Tongue, Northeast, Bear and Green River Basins. He detailed the activities in each, as well as the invited BAG speakers, and consultant work in progress, if applicable. He invited interested individuals to attend any or all of the BAG meetings in the other basins, as well as follow the progress of the various basins on the State Water Plan website.

Wind River Glaciers - Greg Kerr, University of Wyoming (PDF Format - 5,271 kb)

Greg Kerr covered the past and present research that had been done on the Wind River Glaciers and discussed their receding nature. He stated that at the time of his study there were 63 glaciers covering 17 square miles in the Wind River Range, and that the range had seven out of the ten largest glaciers in the continental United States. It was noted that glaciers act as water storage reservoirs that contribute to downstream flow in late summer and fall. Scientific research, which includes aerial photos, repeat ground photography, ice radar and glacier runoff measurements, is used to calculate glacier decline, runoff, and supply. Examples of these various methods were illustrated with Gannett and Dinwoody Glaciers. Mr. Kerr went on to discuss the impacts and significance of the changes, which include an estimated 35% loss in the last 50 years.

Recreation in the Basin: Wyoming State Parks Opportunities - Dave Taylor, Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site, Dave Wilson, Boysen State Park, and Todd Stevenson, Hot Springs Historic Site

Todd Stevenson, Dave Wilson, and Dave Taylor, all with Wyoming State Parks, gave a slide show concerning state park opportunities in the basin, particularly Hot Springs and Boysen State Parks and the Medicine Lodge State Archaeological site. They indicated that some of the state parks are going to be trying out a new Internet reservation system, which will allow visitors to reserve a campsite two days prior to their visit. Overall visitation numbers have fluctuated over the past year, with some facilities up in numbers and others are down.

Hydropower Discussion - Jerry Gibbens, Montgomery Watson Harza

Jerry Gibbens briefly described the power study objectives and scope of work to identify feasible hydropower and competitive fossil fuel power projects in the basin. No fossil fuel sites have been identified, and with regard to hydropower, he stated that their goal was to narrow the long list of 221 probable sites down to 12 feasible sites to recommend for further study. A corresponding timeline for short listing those storage sites with multiple purposes and performing economic calculations for short listed sites was presented. Currently, they have short listed to approximately 85 sites, with proximity to transmission lines being a major limited factor.

Future Use Opportunities Brainstorming - BRS Engineering, Inc.

Doug Beahm and Counterpoise Consulting led a discussion regarding the creation of a long list of future water use possibilities. At the August BAG meeting, Joe Lord presented a long list, which was developed, from reviewing 21 studies completed between 1962 and 2001. He indicated that the concept of listing possible uses was discussed during the last BAG meeting, and that the list would be formed at this meeting. The floor was then opened to discussion and input from those in attendance. The following list of potential projects was created:

  • Water Storage
  • Instream Flows
  • Future Development for Irrigation
  • Enhancement of Existing Resources
  • Future Water Demand
  • Future Impoundments
  • Unallocated Water
  • Floods
  • Verification of Unappropriated Water
  • Flow Augmentation
  • Develop Water Projects for Chronic Water Shortage Drainages That Have Good Soils and Water Righted Acreage
  • Domestic Use
  • Municipal Use / High School Pools
  • Agriculture Use/ Irrigation
    • Existing
    • New
  • Upgrade
  • Stockwater Use
  • Industrial Use / Mineral Use
  • Groundwater Recharge
  • Recreational Use / Fishing / Whitewater
  • Cultural Use
  • Religious Use
  • Hydropower Generation
  • Pollution Control
  • Resource Development
  • Dust Abatement at Buffalo Bill Reservoir
  • Conservation / Rehabilitation
  • Signs
  • Handicap Use / Access
  • Access
  • Develop Promotion / Eco Tourism
  • Cloud Seeding / Weather Modification
  • Local Micro Breweries
  • Chronic Shortages
    • South Fork Little Wind
    • Pass Creek
    • Middle Popo Agie
    • Gooseberry / Grass Creek
    • Cottonwood Creek
    • Owl Creek
    • Crystal Creek
    • Kirby Creek
    • Willow Creek
  • Reclaimed Water for Irrigation
  • Beneficial Use
  • Bottled Water
  • Upstream Off Site Storage (Minimize Impacts)
  • Protect Existing Uses
    • State Rights
  • Federal Projects

The project team will evaluate each of the opportunities brought forth by the Basin Advisory Group and will refine the list into a Short List of Future Water Use Opportunities. This information will be presented to the BAG at its December meeting.

Public Comments

There were no public comments at this time.

The meeting adjourned at 6:05 p.m.

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