Snake/Salt Basin Advisory Group
October 8, 2001
Facilitator Cathy Lujan opened the meeting at 6:00 p.m. at the Teton County
Commissioners Chambers. Each person in attendance was given the chance to introduce
himself or herself. Following the introductions, the agenda for the meeting was
reviewed. There were approximately 30 people in attendance.
The following schedule was agreed on for the next three Snake/Salt BAG meetings:
Monday, December 10, 2001 - Alpine, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, February 13, 2002 - Afton, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, April 10, 2002 - Jackson, 6 p.m.
Barry Lawrence handed out the current BAG membership list. It was pointed out that the
National Park Service did not yet have a representative on the BAG. Representatives for
Yellowstone National Park have declined an invitation to join the BAG. Grand Teton
National Park has been contacted regarding membership in the group, but have not
assigned a member at this point.
Basin Planning Update
Barry Lawrence then gave a report on the progress of other basin planning efforts in the
State. Other BAG meetings that were to take place this week were discussed, along with
some of the activities and topics to be covered at those meetings. It was indicated that
such meetings were open to anyone having an interest in the respective basins.
State Water Plan Website
Robin Gray gave an update on the State's water plan website. The site contains
information on each basin plan in the state depending upon what planning efforts have
been completed for that basin. Information for each Basin Advisory Group is also
included, such as agendas for future BAG meetings, records of past meetings, and, when
possible, full presentations given at each BAG meeting. The homepage for the State's
water planning effort is http://waterplan.state.wy.us/
The information on the website
will not be mailed to individual members of the BAG, however they will receive email
notification when new information is available.
Consultant Update - Sunrise Engineering
Evan Simpson gave the consultant update. He presented an overview of the work being
performed during the early stages of the basin plan and the various firms involved. Water
Rights Services is working on collection of water rights data. Boyle Engineering will be
working on modeling of the surface water in the basin. BBC Research & Consulting is
reviewing the socioeconomic aspects that will help project future water demands.
Sunrise Engineering is collecting data on various current water uses in the basin.
It was noted that during the BAG meetings, members would be learning about various
aspects of water planning. As the plan proceeds and water use and projections are
determined, the members of the BAG will use the information they have learned to give
guidance regarding the future water use in the basin.
Socioeconomic Issues – Ed Harvey, BBC Research & Consulting
Ed Harvey described his company and their roll in the basin plan. Input from the BAG
members was requested to help understand the economics of the basin, and to put
reasoning behind the data to get a true picture of what is happening. This will help with
projections of future long term growth in the basin, which will in turn help with
projections of future water demands.
Mr. Harvey presented data regarding the change in population in the basin. He also
showed various aspects of the economies of Teton and Lincoln counties, and how these
various economic situations can effect the future growth in the area. This included
sources of income for residents, as well as the percentage of earnings in the counties
divided by sector, such as agriculture, services, government, and so forth. Employment
in the basin was discussed, and it was noted that the unemployment rate in Teton County
appears to be low enough to cause problems with the labor supply.
Mr. Harvey reviewed historic data regarding various agricultural sectors in an effort to
determine the future of these operations. It was also noted, that for the most part,
agricultural activities are trending downward in the basin. Data related to tourism and
recreation were also presented, indicating the significance of these activities to the local
Snake River Operations - Mike Beus / Mark Croghan, US Bureau of Reclamation
Mike Beus presented the history of reservoir development in the upper Snake River
basin, such as the factors involved in the planning of the system, the time frame in which
the dams were planned and constructed, and the priority dates of the water stored in the
various reservoirs. The current level of each reservoir in the area was also shown.
Mr. Beus further reviewed the different permitted uses of the reservoirs of interest, such
as flood control, irrigation storage, fish and wildlife uses, and recreation. It was noted
that aspects of each of these uses can be affected by releases from a dam, and flows in the
rivers must be balanced between these interests. The capacities of the reservoirs relative
to historic winter inflows were also presented, indicating the ability or lack thereof to
refill the reservoirs over the winter.
Mark Croghan then discussed what data was used to forecast the spring runoff, which in
turn helps determine the desired level of a reservoir at the end of winter. Releases at
Jackson Lake were compared to flow rates at downstream locations, indicating the impact
of inflows along the length of the Snake River. The water levels and discharges of
various reservoirs for 2001 were compared to other recent drought years. It was also
noted that the Endangered Species Act could impact the release from dams. Currently,
impacts to salmon and steelhead, snails, and Ute Ladies'-Tresses are all of concern.
Furthermore, the Snake River Basin Adjudication, currently underway in Idaho, can also
impact released flows.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:50 p.m.