The project has been proposed to improve 25 ranching operations and 22,400
acres of rangeland. Livestock production would be enhanced and water
would be provided for wildlife. The Little Snake River Conservation
District originally requested a 60% grant 40% loan totaling $687,500 from
Water Development Account 1 for Level III funding of 34 ponds. The
district planned on obtaining funding from alternative sources to repay
the WWDC loan once the project is constructed.
The Conservation District estimates that 400 acre feet of water would be
developed by constructing 34 ponds ranging in size from 5 to 100 acre
feet. The ponds are proposed to be constructed on several tributaries to
the Little Snake River and would be used primarily for livestock watering,
range land improvement and fish and wildlife habitat enhancement. The
reservoirs would be located on federal (BLM), state, and private land.
The project sponsor estimates that 22,400 acres of rangeland would be
improved. The proposed project may have merit and further study would
clarify if these projects are something that the WWDC would be interested
in participating in. The Level II study:
- Determined the projected life and annual maintenance costs of
maintaining these kinds of structures.
- Determined the economic feasibility of these kinds of projects.
- Determined the potential to develop wetlands for mitigation of the
Little Snake Supplemental Irrigation Project, and inclusion in the
Wyoming Wetland bank.
- Determined permitting requirements.
- Determined water right ownership on the facilities.
- Analyzed implications of development of projects on private lands.
- Reviewed design and construction specifications of the federal
- Reviewed geotechnical investigations needs.
- Determined who would be responsible for operation and maintenance
and, if necessary, develop needed contract/agreement documents.
Lidstone and Anderson was hired to complete the Level II study. The study
determined that 12 sites could be developed and 2552 acre feet of water
impounded at an estimated cost of $2,254,650. The Conservation District is
the proposed sponsor. The district did not have the financial resources to
meet the legal requirements for a conservation district to borrow money. The
project was rescoped to make the project fit within the financial limitations
of the conservation district. The estimated project cost with this criteria
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
The WWDC recommends the project be advanced to Level III status in the New
Development Program with a 1999 appropriation of $215,000. The financing
plan includes a 60% grant, $129,000 and a 40% loan, $86,000 at 7.25% for 25