Green River Basin Advisory Group
March 19, 2002
River Basin Planner Barry Lawrence welcomed the group and the meeting was
called to order at 10:04 a.m. All attendees introduced themselves, followed by a
review of the overall meeting agenda. A sign-in sheet was passed around to
record attendance. Meetings are scheduled July 16 in Kemmerer and November
18 in Green River.
Water Development Commission Report
Jon Wade, River Basin Planning Administrator, indicated both the planning and
construction bills were uncontested during the legislative session. 32 planning
projects are currently in the consultant selection process. Opportunities in the
basin include: Alpine Raw Water, Alta Master Plan, Bairoil Master Plan, Pinedale
Intake, Little Snake River Small Dams Phase II, Baggs Master Plan, Church
Reservoir (Green River ASR), Pinedale Hydropower, North Alpine Water Supply,
Viva Naughton Enlargement, and Green River Supply Canal projects. Also,
supplemental funding of $1 million for the Groundwater Grant Program was
Barry Lawrence updated the BAG on the status of the plans for the other basins.
The BAGs for the Snake/Salt and the Wind/Bighorn Basins will be meeting April
9 in Cody and April 10 in Jackson; whereas the BAGS for the Powder/Tongue
and Northeast Wyoming Basins will be meeting March 20 in Buffalo and March
21 in Newcastle. The Bear BAG met March 18 in Cokeville. Barry discussed the
status of these interim basin studies, and schedule for future meetings.
The Green River ASR final report is available. Project Manager Jodie Pavlica
indicated the study, which identified Church Reservoir as an additional site,
would continue with States West Water Resources. The Viva Naughton study
will evaluate the proposed enlargement of the existing reservoir as well as
Dempsey Basin. 39,000 acre-feet are available, with 10,000 acre-feet dedicated
to agriculture in the proposed enlargement of the reservoir.
Water Development Case Studies
John Jackson, Planning Division Director, presented a High Savery Dam and
Reservoir project history and status report. The project took approximately 20
years to obtain a 404 permit at a cost of $8M. The lesson learned from the
lengthy process was the necessity to identify the purpose and need for a project
and identify all solutions to meeting that need.
On April 18, a meeting has been scheduled at 1:00 p.m. at the Green River
Courthouse with Uinta, Sublette, Lincoln, Carbon, and Sweetwater Counties of
the proposed Green River Basin Joint Powers Board.
David Little of the Denver Water Board presented the parameters and history of
the proposed Two Forks Dam. EPA denied the permit 12 years ago; $40M was
spent on design and permitting.
Water Resources Data System Report
Robin Gray gave a brief overview of the current activities of the Water Resources
Data System (WRDS). She also reported that as of March 18, the Snotel
average for entire state ranges from 57% in Laramie County to 84% in the
Yellowstone area. The snowpack average for the Green River area is 78-81%.
The state drought task force is meeting March 19. New online data includes a
monthly climate report, drought monitor/studies, and links to other regional and
national data sources. Of special interest is:
- Surface water supply index for March, which ranges from –2.25 to –3.9.
Drought maps and forecast products are also available.
The water library is acquiring part of State Engineer’s Office collection. The 2002
municipal system survey study will be available in another month or so. The
Green River Basin report, including the GIS products, is 99% online with the Bear
River Basin report due to be online by mid-April.
Watershed Planning to Address Impaired Waterbodies in the Bear
Chuck Harnish, Department of Environmental Quality, stated that the purpose of
the 303(d) list is to
- Notify individuals where credible data supports either a pollutant or a
threat to beneficial use of a stream;
- Prioritize development measures;
- Schedule TMDLs or watershed plan; and
- Locate funding
Segments which are on the proposed 303(d) listing include: Bitter Creek Green
River to Killpecker; Killpecker Bitter Creek to 14 Mile; Blacks Fork Hams Fork
upstream; Smiths Fork Blacks Fork upstream, Hams Fork above and below
Diamondville; Reardon Draw lower 3 miles; Willow Creek Blacks Fork upstream;
and East and West Fork Smiths River mouth up to state line.
Factors contributing to 303(d) list development include waterbody classification,
state standards, credible data, and weight-of-evidence. According to water
quality standards, there are 4 types of streams 1) outstanding waters, 2) fisheries
and drinking water, 3) aquatic life other than fish, and 4) agriculture, industry,
Watershed plans typically are locally led, are activity specific, have multi-pollutant
considerations (habitat, sediment, etc.), and have a monitoring plan. In addition,
there are three phases in developing a watershed plan. Phase I identifies
concerns, inventories resources, analyzes resources and determines
goals/objectives. The formation, evaluation, and selection of alternatives are the
main components of Phase II, with Phase III implementing and evaluating the
There are currently watershed plans in progress for 16 creeks/rivers around the
Lower Colorado River Basin Activities
Pat Tyrrell, State Engineer, addressed several issues, which included:
- Seven Party Agreement, or 4.4 Plan. The State of California needs to
sign the Quantification Settlement Agreement (QSA) by December 30,
2002 for the Imperial Irrigation District and Coachella Valley Water District
to continue receiving interim surplus water. Under the QSA, California is
given 15 years to meet 4.4 MAFD, which is California’s apportionment of
the Colorado River Compact.
- Salton Sea Restoration/Mitigation. Due to a pending water transfer
between the San Diego County Water Authority and the Imperial Irrigation
District under the QSA, the development of programs to continue the
beneficial use of the Salton Sea have become vital.
- Colorado River Delta. The United States is honoring the terms of the
Mexican Water Treaty to help Mexico in meeting certain environmental
issues; however, support is being provided through technical assistance to
develop water through irrigation improvement measures. The 7 states are
forming a Delta Issues Technical Work Group, which is meeting March 28,
2002 in Las Vegas.
Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program
From March 13-19, John Shields is in Washington D.C. visiting with members of
the congressional delegations from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming
to develop support for federal funding for the USBR and USFWS Recovery
Program. On December 6, 2001, the governors from Wyoming, Colorado and
Utah signed an extension of the Upper Colorado Recovery Program Cooperative
Agreement. An update on the recovery of the 4 endangered fish was presented.
Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program
The 2002 Triennial Review of Water Quality Standards for Salinity in the
Colorado River system is underway. The Colorado River Basin Salinity Control
Forum is focusing on BLM efforts to minimize salt loading to the Colorado River
system. President Bush is proposing +$10M for the USBR Colorado River
Salinity Control Program in FY03; however, the forum and advisory council
State Engineer’s Office Report
Jade Henderson, Division 4 Superintendent for the State Engineer’s Office,
indicated the basin is in better shape than last year. The office is writing an
operating manual for regulation in the Smiths Fork drainage for water users; the
draft will be available in April.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 1:05 p.m.