Wyoming State Water Plan, Wyoming Water Development Office
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Platte River Basin Advisory Group
Meeting Record
Wheatland, WY
September 4, 2003


Facilitator Sherri Gregory welcomed the group and the meeting was called to order. The formation of the Basin Advisory Group (BAG) was identified as the meeting objective, followed by a review of the overall meeting agenda (attached). Each of the attendees introduced themselves. A sign-in sheet was passed around to record attendance.

Introduction to River Basin Planning

Jon Wade, WWDC: Jon Wade provided a summary of river basin planning process and presented an overview of the Platte Basin Planning Project. Jon explained that the Platte River Basin Planning Project would take place over the next 18 months, and explained that the project encompasses the entire Platte Basin in Wyoming, including the South Platte drainage. It was also noted that the Platte River Basin Planning Project was the last of the seven basin projects in the State to be undertaken because of the North Platte Litigation and Settlement. Jon described the purpose and history of the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC) and the long-standing need for a framework water plan for the State. He also explained that the river basin planning is a dynamic process whereby a framework plan for the entire state will be developed and each river basin plan will be updated regularly. To make the planning process less expensive, more current, and more dynamic, WWDC chose to make the plans web-based.

Jodie Pavlica, WWDC, Project Manager: Jodie Pavlica began her PowerPoint presentation with a summary of the State Water Planning Process. She explained that the process began four years ago and includes the seven major river basins in Wyoming. The river basin plans are descriptive and current, which is why the plans are developed in conjunction with a Basin Advisory Group, are accessible via the Internet, and are updated every five years. Jodie then presented an overview description of the tasks undertaken during a river basin planning project. These tasks included Basin Water Use Profile, Available Surface and Groundwater Determination with emphasis on the Educational Tool to be developed for this basin, Demand Projections and Future Water Use Opportunities. Following the task overview, Jodie updated the group on the status of the ongoing and completed River Basin Plans. For more information please visit the water planning website http://waterplan.state.wy.us/.

Jodie concluded her presentation by explaining the upcoming events and procedures for the Platte Basin Project. She explained that the Basin Advisory Groups are established to identify local basin water issues and priorities, and that the group will have bi-monthly meetings that rotate around the basin to help minimize the drive time for members in outlying areas of the basin. Jodie’s PowerPoint Presentation is available on the Platte River Basin water planning website at http://waterplan.state.wy.us/BAG/platte/20030904riverbasinplan.pdf.

Scope and Work Products

Joel Farber, TriHydro Corporation: Joel Farber began his presentation by introducing TriHydro as the company hired by WWDC to develop the Platte River Basin Plan. Joel provided a brief description of TriHydro and the other Project Team Members (Lidstone & Associates, Harvey Economics, Frank Carr, and MWH Americas). He then provided a project overview by describing the work to be undertaken as part of the Basin Water Use Profile and Available Surface and Groundwater Determination project tasks. He explained that TriHydro was tasked with developing a web based educational tool under the Available Surface and Groundwater Determination Task. The purpose of the tool was described as a resource for pertinent information about the Platte Basin and would include links to Geographic Information System (GIS) maps, previous and ongoing WWDC projects, resource descriptions, the modified North Platte decree, the North Platte Cooperative Agreement, and the water administration. Joel showed five examples of previously developed websites and GIS applications. He concluded his presentation by asking the attendees to start thinking about items they would like to see included in the educational tool. Joel’s PowerPoint Presentation is available on the Platte River Basin water planning website at http://waterplan.state.wy.us/BAG/platte/20030904trihydro.pdf.

Role of the Basin Advisory Group

Sherry introduced this section of the meeting by explaining some of the expectations of the BAG. She noted that the group’s purpose was to serve in an advisory role not a policy-setting role. She described the Basin Plan as a large database of information that is provided as an information source and guideline to water planning. She reiterated the importance of the process and participation of all BAG members to ensure a complete and accurate final product. To this end, Sherry explained the importance of everyone’s ideas and opinions being represented.

Ground Rules & Conflict Resolution

Sherry led a discussion to establish a list of ground rules. These rules will be added to the name tents used by the BAG members at each meeting to remind all who are participating of their responsibilities to the water planning process. The rules that were developed are as follows:

During the discussion of ground rules, there was some confusion on what the role of the BAG would be during the planning process insofar as how the group would make decisions. The discussion focused on the role of the BAG as an advisory body, that the group would really not be tasked with making policy decisions. The WWDC is interested in hearing everyone’s input, including members of the public that are not on the BAG. The BAG will operate in an atmosphere of informed consent (“all ideas will be heard”). Sherry explained that informed consent protects the minority opinion and allows all ideas to be heard. Even if all participants do not agree on the outcome, they agree on the process of reaching the outcome. All meeting are open to the public, and all persons have the opportunity to voice their opinions.

The purpose and long term outcome of the river basin plan was also discussed at length, including the desire of the WWDC that the BAG continue its work as an advisory group to the WWDC after the plan documents are first completed. The planning process is dynamic and the WWDC will ask the BAG to continue to meet three times per year after the Plan is drafted.

Sherry next asked the group to take a 15-minute working break to discuss how they wanted to be represented on the BAG.

Sector Identification

After much discussion, the group decided that geographic and water use sector representatives would form the BAG. Using a slide from Joel’s presentation, the geographic locations were defined according to sub-basins within the Platte Basin. The areas were defined as follows:

The group identified the following water use categories:

Following the sector identification, the group then identified individuals who would serve as BAG members. Many of those in attendance volunteered to serve. There were some sectors and geographic areas that were not represented after all the volunteers were identified, so nominations were taken to fill some of those spaces. The nominees will be contacted prior the next meeting, and a preliminary list of members will be provided at that time. There were 22 initial BAG members identified and were broken down by sector as follows:

Meeting Dates/Locations

The last item on the agenda was to identify meeting dates and locations for the next three meetings. The group decided that the meetings would be held by-monthly on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. The meetings will begin at 1:00 pm and last until 4:00 pm. On October 14th the group will meet in Cheyenne. On December 9th the group will meet in Casper, and on February 10th the group will meet in Saratoga.

The meeting was adjourned shortly after 5:00 pm.