Pine Creek Water Rights meeting Oct 20
Pine Creek instream flows to be voted on
by Dawn Ballou, Editor, Pinedale Online!
October 20, 2006
According to Pinedale Mayor, Steve Smith, the Pinedale Town Council will hold a Special Meeting tonight (Friday, Oct. 20) at the Pinedale Town Hall regarding the Pine Creek Pilot Program.
Smith said the Town Council will consider a proposed bill by the Interim Joint Committee on Agricultural Land and Water Resources, a joint committee of the Wyoming House of Representatives and Senate, which would allow the Town of Pinedale to use a portion of its water rights for instream flow purposes in Pine Creek. The Town Council will decide at the meeting whether or not they want to vote on a resolution to support the bill.
The Special Meeting will be held today, Friday, October 20, at the Pinedale Town Hall, 210 West Pine Street, at 5:30 pm. The public is invited to attend.
This Special Meeting was not advertised in either the Pinedale Roundup or Sublette Examiner newspapers. The Pinedale Roundup and Sublette Examiner newspapers were informed of the meeting via a phone call giving less than 24-hour's notice of the meeting, too late to be printed in their weekly papers. The Town did not notify local KPIN new radio or Pinedale Online of the meeting, which became aware of the hastily called meeting after receiving phone calls from concerned citizens wondering why the meeting had not been advertised.
According to Monte Olsen, local State Representative for House District 22, “This is a working draft the Ag Committee will be voting on tonight.” He said he just found out about the Town Council meeting today, although he believed the Pinedale Town Council should have known about the proposed bill since last April. When asked if this was the same instream flow rights that was put to a vote to Pinedale residents, he said, “The people in Pinedale voted on whether or not they would sell their water rights for instream flow, and they voted overwhelmingly not to. Some 70% said they didn’t want to sell it.”
The bill will be considered at the upcoming meeting of the Joint Agriculture, Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee, which will be held on Thursday and Friday, October 26 and 27, 2006, in Sundance, Wyoming. The meeting will be held at the University of Wyoming Extension, Crook County Courthouse, 309 Cleveland. The Pine Creek Pilot Project is scheduled on the agenda for 1:30 pm on Friday in the State Engineer’s Office: Proposed Legislation – 07LSO-0028.W3 – Instream flow-Fremont Lake pilot project.
HOUSE BILL NO.
Instream flow-Fremont Lake pilot project.
Sponsored by: Joint Agriculture, Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee
A BILL for AN ACT relating to water; providing for the Town of Pinedale to release water stored in Fremont Lake for purposes of instream flow as a pilot project; requiring a report; providing a sunset date; and providing for an effective date.
Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Wyoming:
Section 1. W.S. 41-3-1015 is created to read:
41-3-1015. Pilot project providing for instream flow; restrictions; report requirement; sunset date.
(a) A pilot project shall be established to allow the Town of Pinedale to release up to four thousand eight hundred (4,800) acre-feet of water, if available and properly stored under reservoir permit number 4452, in any one (1) water year. Notwithstanding the requirements of W.S. 41-3- 1002 (e), the state engineer shall allow and protect the releases with the following restrictions:
(i) The release shall not violate the provisions of W.S. 41-3-1006(g) or (h) or W.S. 41-3-1014;
(ii) The release shall not injure the water rights of any other lawful appropriator;
(iii) The stream segment in which the instream flow shall apply shall coincide with the stream segment identified in existing instream flow permit numbers 33 and 34 on Pine Creek from Fremont Lake to the mouth of Pine Creek;
(iv) Measurement of the instream flow releases provided under this section shall be performed at the same point of measurement established for existing instream flow permits on Pine Creek. If the state engineer deems additional measuring devices are required, the measuring devices shall be constructed by the game and fish commission pursuant to W.S. 41-3-1003;
(v) A specific water use agreement shall be executed between the Town of Pinedale, the game and fish commission and the water development commission for the period of this pilot project. The agreement shall allow the water development commission to request regulation on behalf of water released under this section pursuant to W.S. 41-3-1008;
(vi) The total amount of stream flow to be protected as instream flow at the point or points of measurement shall not exceed forty (40) cubic feet of water per second of time, which includes the combined flow rates already in the channel of Pine Creek by virtue of existing instream flow permit numbers 33 or 34, as well as releases made under this section;
(vii) The Town of Pinedale shall be responsible for removal of physical obstructions, if any, at the outlet of Fremont Lake that inhibit the ability to release water under reservoir permit number 4452 into Pine Creek.
(b) No permanent instream flow water right shall be conferred upon the releases made and protected as instream flow under this pilot project.
(c) This section is repealed effective September 30, 2011.
Section 2. No later than December 31, 2011, the state engineer shall report to the governor, the joint agriculture, public lands and water resources interim committee and the select water committee on the operations and results of this pilot project.
Section 3. This act is effective immediately upon completion of all acts necessary for a bill to become law as provided by Article 4, Section 8 of the Wyoming Constitution.
A copy of the working draft of the bill, and the agenda for the Interim Committee meeting on October 26 & 27th, are available online on the State of Wyoming Legisweb website at the links below.
Working Draft of proposed House bill, Instream Flow- Fremont Lake Pilot Project
Agenda for the Joint Agriculture, Public Lands and Water Resources Interim Committee meeting October 26-27