The project has been proposed to improve 25 ranching operations and 22,400 acres of rangeland.
Livestock production may be enhanced and water may 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 will 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
- 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 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. Approval of the first
phase of funding (2000) was done with the understanding that two or three dams were to be
constructed as demonstration projects. The original Level II estimated costs have increased as a
result of design revisions required by the Bureau of Land Management, which will be the eventual
operations and maintenance agency for the first two dams completed under the Level III project
scope. Under the original $215,000 appropriation, materials have been purchased for the spillway
piping, inlet and outlet works for the first two dams along with the construction completion of one
dam (Smiley Draw) . In order to proceed with the construction of the second dam in spring 2001, an
additional $50,000 is needed to provide adequate funds for the earthwork contract. Construction is
anticipated to proceed in the late spring of 2001 and be completed by early summer 2001.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
The WWDC recommends an additional $50,000 be appropriated from the New Development
Account as a continuation of the year 1999 Level III project to enable completion of the second
dam at Ketchum Butte.