Powder/Tongue River Basin Advisory Group
Wagon Box Inn, Story WY
August 8, 2001
The facilitator opened the meeting at approximately 6:10 pm and reviewed the agenda to set the
expectations for the meeting. Participants introduced themselves by stating their name,
affiliation, and place of residence. The facilitator sent a sign-in sheet around the room.
The facilitator stated that the next two BAG meetings, as selected by the BAG members, would
be held October 10th in Kaycee and December 12th in Sheridan. The BAG then scheduled the
next meeting for January 16, 2002, in Sheridan. BAG member Don Meike of the Powder River
Irrigation District offered to conduct a tour of the site of the proposed Middle Fork Powder River
Reservoir in October prior to the BAG meeting. Jon Wade indicated that state staff would work
with Don to arrange this tour.
Updates on Other Basin Plans
Jon Wade updated the BAG on the status of the plans for the other basins. The BAGs for the
Wind/Bighorn Basins and the Snake/Salt Basins met August 6th and 7th. These groups heard
presentations on local water issues and worked on issues identification. Jon indicated the BAG
for the Northeast Basin would meet August 9th and a tour of a coalmine and a CBM operation
would be held in conjunction with this meeting.
Review of Issues Identified during the Roundtable Work Session
The facilitator explained that at the previous meeting of the BAG, members were divided into
several small groups. These groups were assigned main issues and preceded to combine and
prioritize the subissues under the main issues. The facilitator distributed tables presenting the
results of the work of the small groups. The BAG discussed the main issues of Water Quantity,
Water Quality, and Funding and agreed to adjust the prioritization of some of the sub-issues for
some of the sub-basins. BAG members agreed to review the tables for the other main issues and
prepare to discuss them at the BAG meeting in October. One BAG member commented that all
of the sub-issues could be prioritized as a "1" as they could eventually become critical.
However, it was noted that the prioritization process should reflect the current situation to
identify the issues critical at this time.
Consultant Update - HKM Engineering
Wade Irion reported that the work under Task 2, Basin Water Use Profile, is nearly complete and
the industrial use technical memorandum has been written and submitted to the Planning Team.
The Consulting Team is focusing on Task 3, Availability of Surface Water and Ground Water,
and this task will be the topic of the presentation tonight. Task 4, Demand Projections, and Task
5, Future Water Use Opportunities, are currently underway and reports will be presented at the
October BAG meeting.
Hydrologic Modeling - HKM Engineering
Wade Irion and Jennifer Reusser conducted a GIS presentation of the irrigated lands data theme
that identified the irrigated lands polygons and the associated attributes. Wade described the
attributes of the irrigated lands polygons which include: the name of the ditch serving the
polygon, the source of supply, the other polygons included in the same service area, the area of
the polygon, the type of crops being irrigated, the water rights associated with the land, the
efficiency of the irrigation system, and the pattern of return flow from the polygon. Wade
explained how the information in this GIS data theme is used in the hydrologic models
developed for the basins.
A presentation was then given of the hydrologic model prepared for the Crazy Woman Creek
basin, which is one of the models prepared for the plan. The presentation described how the
model was developed and calibrated, and how it is used. Wade explained that under Task 3 the
models would be used to establish the baseline conditions of the basins and define where the
shortages and surpluses currently exist under dry, wet, and normal years. This information will
be used in Task 5 to assess future water use opportunities.
Question: Does the model include CBM water?
Response: No. The model covers the period through 1999, which is about the time CBM
development, really began. The model therefore represents baseline conditions prior to CBM
development and can be used as a tool to analyze future water use under post-CBM conditions.
Question: How will CBM water be included in the model?
Response: An estimate of the average discharge over the life of the CBM wells in each sub-
basin was developed from production data obtained from the Wyoming Oil & Gas Conservation
Commission. An estimate was then made of the total production in each sub-basin under current
conditions. This information will be used by Gary Watts to make projections of future water
production throughout the basins.
Question: How are surface flows calculated? Is precipitation data used in this calculation?
Response: Estimated surface flows in the model are typically based on relationships to records of
streamflow on nearby streams, not from precipitation data.
Question: Can the model estimate impacts of changes in irrigation efficiency?
Question: Does the model account for different types of irrigation, i.e. sprinkler versus gravity?
Endangered Species Act - Terry Root, US Fish & Wildlife Service
Terry began the presentation, titled ESA For Non-Majors, by defining the terms and stating the
purpose of the Endangered Species Act. He then described the process followed to list a species
as endangered, threatened, or candidate, and identified the factors considered in the listing
process and the key elements of the listing decision. He described the determination of critical
habitat for listed species.
Terry explained how threatened or endangered species can be "taken" through the various
provisions of the ESA specifically through consultations under Section 7 (federal nexus) and
Section 10 (private property) of the ESA. He explained how recovery plans are prepared to
result in the delisting of species, and how Candidate Conservation Agreements with Assurances
can prevent the listing of a species.
Terry identified listed species that currently exist in the Powder/Tongue Basins, or could
possibly inhabit the area in the future. The list includes: Black-footed Ferret; Gray Wolf; Grizzly
Bear; Bald Eagle; Peregrine Falcon (delisted with protections for a period of time); Canada
Lynx; Mountain Plover; Swift Fox; Black-tailed Prairie Dog; Bison; Sage Grouse; Sturgeon
Chub; Yellowstone Cutthroat.
Coalbed Methane Activities Update - Mickey Steward
Mickey identified several CBM issues currently being addressed by the county commissioners.
These issues include: safety of workers and residents; nuisance concerns (noise, light, dust);
water issues amplified to include shallow alluvial waters; road and access (surfacing, traffic,
maintenance, trash); administration of the increased population; resource protection and
mitigation; and impacts on property values. She indicated that there has been a significant
increase in CBM activity in Carbon County. Mickey reported on research on grasses tolerant to
salt in water and in soil. This research could be applicable to CBM discharge water. She then
distributed an article Recent Production Information - CBM in the PRB.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:25 pm.