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Wind/Bighorn River Basin Advisory Group
December 17, 2002
Facilitator Sherri Gregory-Schreiner of Counterpoise Consulting, Inc. in Cheyenne, opened
the meeting at 3:00 p.m. She introduced herself 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 basin advisory group meetings were scheduled as follows:
January 28, 2003, 3 p.m. - Riverton
April 1, 2003, 3 p.m. - Cody
Planning Team Issues
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 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. He then invited interested individuals to attend
any or all of the BAG meetings in the other basins.
Population/Demand Projections - Curt Pendergraft, BRS Inc.
Mr. Pendergraft began by showing the group a table of basin populations from 1920
through 2000. He explained to the group how he used the past population numbers and
rate of change to create projections through 2030. Three different population growth
scenarios have been addressed in the planning process, including: high, moderate, and low
population growth projections. Economic growth requirements were then discussed, as
well as employment statistics for the basin, and ultimately water use requirements as
relating to the various sectors of the economy. A brief discussion period followed Curt’s
Surface Water Availability - Jerry Gibbens, Montgomery Watson Harza
Mr. Gibbens began by updating the group on the basin modeling process. He indicated
that the model was 90-95% complete with preliminary model calibration now taking place.
He reiterated for the group exactly what the model did, and did not contain. It was noted
that model delineations follow the sub-basins, including the: Wind, Bighorn, Clarks Fork,
Yellowstone, and the Madison/Gallatin. Mr. Gibbens discussed the need to have the model
match reality as much as possible, and noted that much could be achieved through the
calibration with historical diversions and the awareness of compact allotments. It was
further noted that the model does not operate storage, rather it accounts for historical
average conditions. Mr. Gibbens then went on to discuss the various models under wet,
normal and dry year scenarios, indicating areas where shortages of water were likely to
Ground Water Availability - Chris Lidstone, Lidstone & Associates
Mr. Lidstone began by showing the group numerous maps of the area, each depicting
another aspect of the ground water resources of the basin. He discussed the various wells
in the basin (municipal, domestic, industrial, etc.), the aquifers encountered, the
stratigraphy of the basin, the associated water quality characteristics, and the potential
areas for future ground water development.
Hydropower Study - Chip Paulson, Montgomery, Watson & Harza
Mr. Paulson began by reviewing the scope of work for the power study. He discussed the
existing sites within the basin and a potential twelve additional sites refined from a long-list
of alternatives, which numbered in excess of two hundred. Criteria utilized to narrow down
the list of alternatives were identified through a power market study, and include potential
customers, transmission capabilities, pricing structures, etc. A twenty-mile buffer was then
selected around existing transmission facilities. All of this information was utilized in further
refinement of a short list of potential hydropower sites within the basin. A comparison of
the top fifteen sites was then made. These sites, interestingly enough, are split evenly
between the Wind and the Bighorn. It was noted that the next steps in the study were to
relate the top hydropower sites to the top water supply storage sites, and to develop a final
short list. This list will include facility requirements and costs.
Fossil Fuel Power Generation - Doug Beahm, BRS Inc.
Mr. Beahm began by discussing the available coal resources in Wyoming, paying particular
attention to the Wind and Bighorn Basins. He further discussed current surface and
underground mining operations with attention to typical coal thicknesses, annual production
amounts, costs, and employee numbers. This information was then related to the available
coal resources of the Wind and Bighorn Basins, and what similar operations in the basins
might look like. He closed by discussing how a “mine-mouth” relationship would be feasible
in the basin. A brief question and answer period followed Mr. Beahm’s presentation.
Screening Criteria - Doug Beahm, BRS Inc.
Mr. Beahm reviewed the screening criteria for future projects as discussed with the basin
advisory group at an earlier meeting. It was noted that the criteria utilized were similar to
those utilized in other basin planning efforts, with the exception of the criterion of “need”
being added. This additional criterion reflects the ability of the project to meet existing and
future water needs in the basin. Mr. Beahm went on to state that each screening criterion
was then assigned a weight depending on its relative importance to assuring a successful
project. Finally, the assignment of metrics to scores for individual projects was addressed.
Project Opportunities – BRS Engineering, Inc.
The draft plan presentation was concluded with the displaying of the long-list of future water
use opportunities in the basin. It was noted that projects were grouped by “type”, including:
development of new resources, distribution of existing sources, water conservation, water
management, conjunctive use options, basin transfers, environmental/recreational, and the
development of new uses. As the consulting team was reviewing the list, a considerable
amount of discussion ensued relative to the scores that individual projects had received.
Also, there was an equal amount of discussion relative to the handling of sites with cultural
importance to the Tribes. Ideas presented by the BAG members during these discussions
will be evaluated for incorporation into the final Wind/Bighorn River Basin Plan.
Public Comment Period
There were no public comments at this time.
The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 p.m.