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
- 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 agencies.
- 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 is $215,000.
The Little Snake River Conservation District received a 1999 grant and loan
appropriation in the amount of $215,000 from the Water Development Account I. The
grant is for 60% of the WWDC eligible project costs with a 40% loan at 7 1/4% interest
rate over twenty-five (25) years for a number of the twelve projects identified and
recommended in the Level II study. The district has identified the four highest
priority projects and is proceeding to perform environmental assessments and obtain
the required permits needed to start construction. Construction is anticipated to
proceed in the late spring of 2000 and be completed by the fall of 2000.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
No legislative action is required.