7 Streams in SE Wyoming get instream flow permits
Approved by the Wyoming State Engineer
by Wyoming Game & Fish Department
March 23, 2007
Seven sections of southeast Wyoming creeks and rivers received permits from the Wyoming State Engineer for instream flow water rights this month to help guarantee the waterways will continue to provide fishing for Cowboy State anglers.
The seven sections total 47.4 miles of creeks and river on the west side of the Snowy Range. The permits grant the state of Wyoming water rights on the streams to insure flows to protect fisheries.
The specific streams/river, length and location:
-- North Platte River: 16 miles from the Colorado state line downstream
-- Douglas Creek: 23.3 miles upstream from confluence with the North Platte River
-- 9.1 miles on five small tributaries of Douglas Creek: Nugget Creek, Camp Creek, Horse Creek, Beaver Creek and Lake Creek.
"These are important instream flow approvals because the North Platte and the Douglas Creek drainage are such important destinations for anglers," said Paul Dey, instream flow biologist for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. "We can feel a little more assured that the fishery resources we have today will continue to provide opportunities far into the future for anglers."
Wyoming's instream flow law was passed by the 1986 legislature. The law enables the state to receive a water right, which is "junior," or secondary, to any previous water right. That means existing water rights for ranchers, farmers or municipalities will not be affected at all.
The process involves several state agencies and public involvement. After the Game and Fish identifies stream segments where instream flow protection is needed to maintain the fishery, the Wyoming Water Development Office assesses the feasibility of the permit. The state engineer's office then holds a public hearing on the permit application in a town near the proposed stream. Based on this information and public input, the state engineer then issues a decision on the permit.
Typically, the process takes many years to complete. The applications for the recently granted permits were submitted in 1991.
Since the Clark's Fork River was approved for the first instream flow water right in November 1987, 64 other stream sections have been approved protecting flows on 447.4 miles of streams.