Green River Basin Advisory Group
Western Wyoming College, Rock Springs, WY
March 14, 2000
Facilitator Joe Lord welcomed the group and the meeting was opened at 1:00 pm.
overall meeting agenda was reviewed, followed by an introduction of all
sign-in sheet was passed around to record attendance.
Planning Team Issues
The future meeting schedule for the BAG was discussed. The following dates and
locations were set:
|April 11, 2000||Pinedale||1:00||
Sublette County Library|
|May 9, 2000||Baggs||5:00||TBA|
|June 13, 2000||Marbleton||5:00||TBA|
A possibility for the July meeting is Wamsutter, located in the Great Divide
Basin. Starting in May, all future meetings will be held at 5pm until further
Pat Tyrrell of States West gave a brief project update. Mr. Tyrrell presented a
list of reservoirs that had been compiled as part of the project. While not
every reservoir in the basin was included on the list, it was representative of
the larger sites in the basin and did include all the major reservoirs. The
list included not only reservoir capacities but also corresponding potential
gross evaporative losses from the reservoirs. These losses were calculated
using an estimate of annual lake evaporation and lake high water line area, for
Mr. Tyrrell also presented a list of Wyoming Game and Fish Department Instream
Flow water right filings in the Green River Basin, along with a map of each
filing location. Mr. Tyrrell noted there were about 33 applications filed in
the basin, of which only two had advanced to the final stage of actually
becoming a recognized water right.
[Note: The slides presented by Mr. Tyrrell are considered preliminary work
products and will not be distributed at
Questions asked of Mr. Tyrrell were as follows:
One questioner wondered if the entire amount of evaporation was charged to users
in lakes, such as Fremont Lake, where storage was added to an already
substantial natural lake, and the marginal change in surface area for
evaporation was rather small. Mr. Tyrrell responded that he was aware that
several lakes in the upper east side of the basin were constructed in this
manner, and evaporation should be charged (if "charged" is the right term) only
on the basis of incremental evaporation.
A follow-up question had to do with how evaporation is counted against the
Colorado River Compact allocated flow for Wyoming. Mr. John Shields indicated
that evaporation is charged to the state in the same proportion as flow is
allocated to the State by agreement among the upper basin states. That is, 14
percent of the total evaporation from all main stem reservoirs is charged to the
A final questioner indicated he thought the value of 50 inches shown as an
evaporative rate for the High Savery Reservoir site to be too high. Mr. Tyrrell
said he would look into the issue and see if a wrong value had been used in the
table. [Note: the lake evaporation data in the table came from maps Larry
E. Lewis published as part of his Master's Thesis "Development of an
Evaporation Map for the State of Wyoming.", May 1978. The comment received
regarding High Savery Reservoir is valid. One reason these values appear high
is they had not been corrected for the effect of rainfall (which would reduce
the amounts given by the rough equivalent of the annual average precipitation at
each site on the list). The EIS document prepared for the High Savery site used
30 inches for net evaporation (45 inches gross lake evaporation minus 15
inches of precipitation) in its hydrologic analyses, a value that we will
use from now on.]
Municipal and Industrial Uses
Mr. Mike Purcell distributed a handout that provided 1997-1999 water use
(depletions) for all towns in the basin. Surface water users showed an average
per capita consumption rate of about 101 gallons per capita per day, whereas
groundwater users averaged 353 gallons per capita per day. Of the groundwater
users, data from Marbleton (787 gallons per capita per day) skewed the average
higher. Information from the Marbleton Mayor, present at the BAG meeting, was
that their use was high due to winter bleeding of water to avoid freeze
problems, the existence of large town parks, and the fact that Marbleton
users are not metered.
Questions of Mr. Purcell related to municipal uses were:
One attendee thought the population shown for Green River/Rock Springs looked
high, like it may be the entire county and not just those communities. Mr.
Purcell indicated that the numbers represent service area populations according
to what the municipalities told him. This same questioner thought that the
1997-1999 time frame was just a "snapshot" and may be more valid if compared to
other periods of use as well. Mike indicated he'd look into the availability of
data for other periods.
Another questioner wondered if Reliance water rates were higher than Green
River's. According to Mr. Ben Bracken, manager of the Rock Springs/Green River
Joint Powers Board, any difference in price between Rock Springs (and suburbs)
and Green River would be due to debt service incurred independent of the price
of the water itself.
A final question arose about the potential tie of storage water in Fremont Lake
to the Town of Granger. There was some discussion about the current status of
legislation that may have provided Fremont Lake water for Granger at one time.
Mr. Purcell agreed to look into the legislative history of such an agreement and
provide a summary to the Town of Pinedale.
Mr. Purcell then briefly mentioned that his next goal would be to investigate
industrial uses. Responding to one questioner who asked if Mike knew
approximately how much industrial use he expected to find, the answer was "not
much" in relation to the basin as a whole.
Mr. Purcell then gave a presentation on institutional issues, including the
Endangered Species Act (ESA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the
Clean Water Act (CWA). Part of this presentation included discussions of how
these acts had come into play in other development projects in the state. Mr.
Purcell prepared a handout that was distributed to the BAG members in
Other questions asked of Mr. Purcell included:
Will he look at the requirements of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which include
State Revolving Fund requirements as well as source area protection? Mr.
Purcell said yes, the SDWA should be included.
Can the state streamline its approach to the federal requirements? It seems as
though other states have more success with federal requirements than we do.
There was an overall sentiment that money and congressional representation were
common ingredients in getting federal approval for water projects.
Another commenter offered that BLM Resource Area Management Plans will say what
types of activities are or are not allowed on federal lands.
Source Water Assessment Program
The next presenter was Ms. Kim Parker of the Wyoming Department of Environmental
Quality, Water Quality Division. Her topic was Wyoming's Source Water
Assessment Program (SWAP).
Go to the SWAP homepage
High points from Ms. Parker's presentation follow:
- The SWAP follows from 1996 SDWA amendments.
- SWAP is a preventative approach, similar to the Wellhead Protection
- Assessments are voluntary in Wyoming because we do not have primacy over
- Source Water Assessments include:
- Delineation of the area contributing to a well or surface water
- Inventory of sources of contamination in the source area.
- Analysis of susceptibility of sources to identified contamination
- Reporting of the source areas, contaminant sources, and
- Benefits of a SWAP for a water supply system:
- Possible monitoring waivers resulting in lower testing costs.
- Possible avoidance of groundwater disinfection rule.
- Prevention of contamination.
- Use as a planning tool for future water development or local response
Questions for Ms. Parker included:
How is natural contamination handled (i.e. radioactive contamination in the
Superior well)? The response was that natural contamination may not be caught
by the SWAP program. However, it should be noted in other EPA-required sampling
for public water systems.
A questioner wondered how this program was funded. Ms. Parker's response was
that it was funded ($1.2 million) by a 10 percent holdback from the State
Revolving Loan fund (EPA).
Comments were offered that voluntary programs often end up being mandatory.
Kim can be contacted at DEQ at (307) 777-7343 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more
The final presentation was made by Ron Remmick of the Wyoming Game and Fish
Department (WGF). His topic was managing the native cutthroat trout populations
in the Green River Basin and the State of Wyoming in general.
Mr. Remmick indicated there are four distinct subspecies of cutthroat trout in
the state, including the Snake River, Yellowstone, Bonneville and Colorado River
varieties. Populations of these trout are currently managed using creel and
other surveys, habitat enhancement, removal of introduced species (e.g. Brook
Trout) and special regulations. The WGF currently does not see the need to list
any of these types of cutthroat trout as sensitive or endangered if their
management plans can be implemented and existing populations protected.
Questions posed to Mr. Remmick included:
How do you tell the subspecies apart? The response was that DNA testing can be
used among other methods. Some hybridization occurs, but pure strains are
Another questioner wondered how important the High Savery Dam will be to the
success of the program to protect the Colorado River Cutthroat Trout (CRCT)?
Mr. Remmick said that High Savery will be useful in protecting the species in
the Little Snake River basin, but whether or not the reservoir is built their
program will go forward.
The chemical used to eradicate Brook Trout in areas where they are to be removed
(to reduce competition with CRCT) is called Anamyacin (sp). Is this chemical
selective to just brook trout, or is it nonselective? And, how do you control
the toxicity of the solution (i.e. how do you not poison reaches downstream not
intended for Brook Trout removal)? Mr. Remmick indicated that this chemical is
nonselective but loses its toxicity very quickly through natural oxidation, and
is more effective than Rotenone. To make sure downstream reaches are
unaffected, a technician applies potassium permanganate (an oxidizer) to the
lower end of the reach. This oxidizer renders any remaining Anamyacin
ineffectual at that point. Observations have shown recolonization by
invertebrates lost to the poisoning occurs after about a year.
One questioner asked about whirling disease and whether it was true that birds
could spread the disease. Mr. Remmick indicated that yes, while the risk may be
low, the WGF assumes there is a possibility of birds spreading the whirling
The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 p.m.