Northeastern River Basin Advisory Group
March 21, 2002
River Basin Planner Barry Lawrence welcomed the group and the meeting was
called to order at 1:02 p.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 18 in Lusk and November 21 in
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: Ranchester Master Plan, Ten Sleep/Hyattville Master Plan,
York/South Side Ditch Master Plan, Buffalo Tank, Gillette CBM Aquifer Storage
and Retrieval, Dayton Groundwater, Pine Haven Well, Sheridan Hydropower,
Lake DeSmet Master Plan, Wright Well, Sleepy Hollow, and Town of Upton Tank
projects. Also, supplemental funding of $1 million for the Groundwater Grant
Program was received.
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. The Bear, Green, and Powder/Tongue BAGS
met March 18 in Cokeville, March 19 in Lyman, and March 20 in Buffalo. Barry
discussed the status of these interim basin studies, and schedule for future
State Engineer’s Office Report
Sue Lowry, Interstate Streams Engineer, reported the first meeting of the North
Platte Decree Committee, which includes Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, and
the Bureau of Reclamation will be held April 12. Due to the additional reporting
of consumptive use and total numbers of acres under irrigation required as part
of the North Platte River settlement, 7 new people, mainly field people, have
been added to the staff of the State Engineer’s Office.
Sue led a general discussion of compacts and related negotiations, particularly,
the Belle Fourche River Compact.
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 59% in Laramie County to 88% in the
Yellowstone area. The snowpack average for the Northeast Wyoming River
Basin area is 71%.
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. A
Powder River Basin Project is being done cooperatively by the Wyoming
Department of Environmental Quality, WWDC, and the Wyoming Geological
Survey. The project is compiling various sources of water quality data correlated
to the coal seams in northeast Wyoming. 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.
Coalbed Methane Activities Update
B.J. Kristiansen, CBM Coordination Coalition, indicated the coalition is a joint
powers board of Campbell, Carbon, Converse, Johnson and Sheridan Counties
and conservation districts. He indicated the main issues of coalbed methane
development in 2001 included water discharge/quality and its effects upon soils,
vegetation, and wildlife. The methodology used and effects of CBM development
are constantly evolving. One of the major responsibilities of the coalition is to
gather information and distribute data to facilitate rational coalbed methane
development. The CBMCC website is www.cbmcc.vcn.com
One of the primary issues is “divided estate”, or who has the surface/mineral
rights. A “value added “ concept has developed from the development, such as
CBM water discharge being utilized to develop wetlands, and the resultant
development of better, or more complete, ecosystems. This is showing up in
small areas in different basins.
CBM Discharge Water Development
Mike Collins, Natural Resources Conservation Service, presented the concept of
a community livestock water distribution system. Water from numerous coalbed
methane wells is discharged into a main waterline, which is delivered to a
treatment facility. From the treatment facility, the water is conveyed via a 6 to 8-
inch pipeline and delivered to livestock at numerous points.
Belle Fourche River Watershed Plan
Wayne Garman, Crook County Natural Resource District, indicated the district
had received a Clean Water Act grant to perform monitoring on the Belle Fourche
River. The reaches from Keyhole Reservoir to Hulett, and from the Campbell
County line to Keyhole Reservoir have been placed on the 303(d) list for fecal
coliform. One year of data has been collected at both sites, and will continue for
a second year. Currently, the data is not showing a problem with the reach from
Keyhole Reservoir to Hulett, but there are some problems in the Campbell
Wetlands Reserve Program
Mike Collins, Natural Resources Conservation Service, stated the Wetlands
Reserve Program is a voluntary program to restore and protect wetlands on
private property. Landowners may sell a conservation easement or enter into a
cost-share restoration agreement to enhance wetlands in exchange for retiring
marginal agriculture land. There are three options: permanent easements, 30-
year easements, and restoration cost-share agreements of a minimum 10-year
duration. Several projects, including the J.O. McDonald property, were
mentioned as participants in the program.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:15 p.m.