Town Council approves releasing Pinedale water
4800 acre feet to Pine Creek for recreation and fish propagation
by Dawn Ballou, Pinedale Online!
August 27, 2008
At the Pinedale Town Council meeting on Monday, August 25th, the Council voted to release 4800 acre feet of water from Fremont Lake into Pine Creek for recreation and fish propagation.
Dennis Shroeder came before the Town Council during the public comment period of the meeting Monday night to request the Town approve releasing more water from Fremont Lake to supplement the current low flows of Pine Creek for recreation and fish propagation benefit. Shroeder is a member of Trout Unlimited and has come before the town with this same request on other occasions over the past several years. He said Trout Unlimited would be interested in making stream improvements along Pine Creek, but only if they got a "commitment to some water" from the Town.
There was considerable discussion amongst council members on the topic. Ultimately a motion was made and seconded to request the Mayor to make a call for water for up to 4800 acre feet of the town’s reserves for the purposes of "recreation and fish population". The only dissenting council member in the discussion and vote was David Smith. There was no comment from the public on this topic.
Editor’s Note: Because this topic was brought before the Council under "Citizen Concerns", it was not listed on the agenda as a topic that was going to be discussed, and no public notice was given that this important subject might be acted upon. This action can potentially have a huge negative impact on the Town’s water rights. This is a known controversial issue for the Town, one in which a referendum vote was done in 2006 where citizens overwhelmingly voted "NO" to using Town water for instream flow. The circumstances between the two instances are slightly different (the 2006 vote involved a sale of those 4800 acres feet of water rights to the state), however the end result of the possibility of putting the Town’s water rights for this 4800 acre feet in jeopardy are the same. In the past, this topic has generated standing-room only attendance at Town meetings, with local irrigators who own water rights and people knowledgeable in water right law in attendance. This is a complex issue with ramifications that go far beyond making the stream look pretty in the fall for tourism and recreation and wanting more water in the creek for fish during seasonal low flow times. The decision to act upon this request, and not table it and have it occur as an agenda item at a regular meeting with sufficient public notice and advance advertisement in the local newspaper of record, is highly questionable. In our opinion, the way this was handled was not in the public interest of the citizens of Pinedale. - Dawn Ballou, Editor
Public Notice to sell water rights - (Sublette Examiner, September 30, 2004)
Pinedale's Water Deal - (Sublette Examiner, October 7, 2004)
Town stalls on water deal - (Sublette Examiner, October 14, 2004)
Water sale to go to public vote - (Sublette Examiner, October 28, 2004)
Town votes 229-130 no water sale - (Sublette Examiner, May 4, 2006)
Pinedale council considers its water – again - (Sublette Examiner October 26, 2006)
Town seeks exemption to state water law - (Sublette Examiner, October 26, 2006)
Pinedale Town Council Water Rights Meeting Oct. 20 - (Pinedale Online! October 20, 2006)
Pinedale Town Council votes to approve releasing water to Pine Creek - (Pinedale Online! October 20, 2006)