Wyoming State Water Plan, Wyoming Water Development Office
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Powder/Tongue River Basin Advisory Group
Meeting Record
Buffalo, WY
June 14, 2000


The facilitators selected for the Powder/Tongue Basin Advisory Group, Cathy Lujan and Sherri Gregory-Schreiner, of Counterpoise Consulting, Inc. of Cheyenne, opened the meeting at approximately 6:00 pm. They introduced themselves and welcomed participants to the meeting. The facilitators reviewed the agenda and explained the expectations for the meeting.

Participants introduced themselves by stating their name, affiliation, and place of residence. A sign-in sheet was passed around the room. The facilitators explained that the purpose of the sign- in sheet is to compile the name and address of all participants so they can be included on the list to receive mailings regarding the plan.

Consultant Introduction

Joe Lord introduced the consulting team, which comprised of MSE-HKM as the prime consultant, and Lord Consulting LLC, Watts and Associates, X10Systems, and Jere Folgert as subconsultants. He then described the role of each member of the consulting team. Mr. Lord also explained that the role of the consulting team is to collect data, perform analyses, prepare reports, and generally to support the planning team and the Basin Advisory Group(BAG) in the planning process. He stressed the importance of the work of the BAG in the development of the river basin plan.

Planning Team Issues

Jon Wade described the briefing book that will be distributed to BAG members as a reference document. They will be distributed at the August BAG meeting in Sheridan.

Jon Wade invited participants to contact the planning team with questions and comments. The primary means of distributing information and data will be on the Water Plan Website: http://waterplan.state.wy.us/ The e-mail address is waterplan@state.wy.us Responding to a question, Jon Wade indicated information will also be mailed to BAG members since not everyone - has e-mail.

Participants suggested and adopted the following dates and towns for future meetings: August 16 in Ucross or Sheridan; October 11 in Gillette; and December 13 in Kaycee. The planning team will arrange for meeting sites in each of the towns.

Responding to a question, Jon Wade explained the statutory authority of basin planning, its purpose, and who it is for.

Barry Lawrence explained that the purpose of the educational presentations is to inform BAG members on water planning topics. Educational presentations are also used to present and discuss issues of the specific area of the basin where the meeting is being held. Participants then brainstormed to generate the following list of potential educational topics:

  1. Unplugged drill holes, intermixing aquifers
  2. Discharging coal bed methane water
  3. Explanation of compact, how much of Wyoming allocation is being used, how much is left
  4. Who owns water after it has been discharged, who is responsible for damages - water law 101 is required
  5. Geology
  6. Need baseline data on water quality
  7. Recharge rates and areas, geologic section, in particular for the Madison formation
  8. Explanation of the parameters for the study, i.e. 50 gpm and 10 cfs criteria
  9. Population projections
  10. Interaction of State and Federal agencies that permit water, EPA requirements (CWAP/TMDL's), presentation on Unified Federal Policy
  11. Sources of funds for water development
  12. Minimum streamflow identification with economic impacts
  13. Erosion
  14. Downstrean states - expectations, requirements, coordination
  15. Identification of watersheds
  16. Corps of Engineers 404 permitting process
  17. Climate projections
  18. Projections of water use by industry
  19. TMDL 101
  20. Industrial water treatment techniques
  21. Disposal options
  22. Wyoming Business Council

The Planning Team will arrange for speakers to make presentations on these topics as Possible.

In response to a question Barry Lawrence read the list of suggested educational topics that the Green River BAG had requested during their sessions. The Group Requested the Right to visit the list at a later time.

Meeting Rules

Referring to the record of the meeting of the Powder/Tongue BAG held April 27, 2000, the facilitators discussed the meeting rules adopted by the BAG. They then asked for a discussion on the rules and for suggested additions or deletions to the list.

  1. Wait to be recognized
  2. No finger pointing or attacks
  3. No side conversations
  4. All decisions will be by informed consent
  5. Alternative opinions welcome
  6. Stay on task
  7. Members commit to the group
  8. Accountability
  9. Meetings are open to the public with a public comment period at the end of the meeting
  10. Don't champion causes outside group

The facilitators explained that making decisions by informed consent means there is no voting. It does not mean there will be 100% agreement on group decisions. However everyone should agree with the process which has allowed discussion on all sides of an issue and that there is general acceptance of how the decision was reached by the group.

The facilitators then led an extensive discussion on the role of representatives of state and federal agencies in the decision-making function of the BAG. Jon Wade stated that the job of the BAG is not to make policy decisions, but rather to advise the Planning Team. A participant requested that agency representatives speak to the policies of their agency directly and forthrightly.

The facilitators explained that name tents would be prepared for use at future BAG meetings. Meeting rules and the BAG mission statement will be printed on the back of the name tents as a constant reminder to BAG members.

Basin Advisory Group Membership

The facilitators distributed a list of BAG members and explained that the distributed list is an update of the list mailed previously. Members were asked to review the list to determine if the BAG has a representative cross-section of the interests in the basin. The facilitators asked if anyone wished to be removed from BAG membership, however nobody requested to be dropped from the list.

The following individuals requested BAG membership:

  1. Michael Hiza
  2. Curt Symons
  3. Betsy Pearson
  4. Verlin Donnar

The group also suggested Dave Spencer, Wyoming Business Council, should be added to the BAG. The planning team will follow up on this nomination.

The facilitators asked for comments regarding the size of the BAG. One individual responded that the group size is appropriate and that the group seems to be working together well. Another individual responded that if the group gets to be too large it could be divided into smaller groups for discussion.

The facilitators asked for comments regarding input from non-BAG members during the meeting. Will these individuals be allowed to comment while a topic is being discussed or will they need to wait until a specified public comment period at the end of the meeting? Will their time for comment be limited? The group decided that regardless of membership if the comment pertained to the discussion topic, it should be allowed. If not related to the agenda/discussion it should be held to the end of the meeting and limited to 5 minutes time. Responding to a question, Jon Wade noted that the Planning Team prepares meeting agendas.

Basin Advisory Group Mission Statement

Responding to a question regarding the relationship between River Basin Planning and the work of Coordinated Resource Management (CRM) groups, Jon Wade stated that there is minimal overlap with respect to goals. He further stated that communication between the groups would be necessary during the planning process. The mission statement adopted by the Green River BAG was read. Participants were requested to suggest ideas to be written into a mission statement for the Powder/Tongue BAG. After ideas were submitted, compiled, evaluated, and discussed, the BAG crafted and adopted the following mission statement:

Assist in the planning process for the Little Bighorn, Tongue, and Powder River Basins by addressing the present and future use and conservation of our water resources.

Issues Identification

A meeting participant suggested that the Powder/Tongue BAG should not reinvent the wheel with the issues identification process. It was suggested that the planning team compiled a list of issues already identified by other groups, such as CRMs and conservation districts for their own purposes. Powder/Tongue BAG members could then also submit issues to the planning team and these issues can be added to the list generated by the planning team. One individual reported that four conservation districts in the basin have jointly compiled a list of issues. This list will be submitted to the Planning Team to include in the BAG issue list. A representative of the State Engineer's Office suggested that BAG members should read the Yellowstone River Compact. Reading the compact will provide an understanding of the agreement between the States of Wyoming and Montana, and the percentage allocation of water between the two states.

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 8:45 pm.