The 1999 Water Development Omnibus Construction legislation authorized $215,000 for the
purpose of building the first of up to twelve small dams and reservoirs to improve range and grazing
conditions in the area. The total estimated volume of water impounded by the twelve reservoirs
would be approximately 2,636 acre-feet and will service a total area of 9,780 acres of rangeland.
Construction of the 12 dams was initially estimated to be in the range of $2,254,650.
With the first appropriation of $215,000, design on three dams was completed along with the
purchase of spillway piping, outlet and inlet materials for two dams and the construction of a single
dam and reservoir. An additional $50,000 was authorized during the 2000 Water Development
Omnibus Construction legislation to allow the completion of construction on the second dam and
reservoir site. The cost for the design, construction and engineering inspection of the two dams and
reservoirs is approximately $1,670 per acre-foot.
The district has been instrumental in substantially lowering the overall project costs by undertaking
the securing of permits from the Corps of Engineers, Water Quality Division, State Engineer's Office
and the Bureau of Land Management with the assistance of in-kind services by personnel from the
district and the BLM office.
The current application is requesting an additional $500,000 to continue the design and construction
of four additional dams and reservoirs from the original list of twelve dams and reservoirs identified
as being economically viable and feasible to construct. The dams/reservoirs include: Browns' Hill
21, Garden Gulch 3, Garden Gulch 32, and Ketchum Buttes 34. The four dams are estimated to
provide over 425 acre-feet of storage capacity.
In order to qualify for Water Development Program funding, the Little Snake River Conservation
District must provide sufficient collateral to secure the loan. On the initial 1999 and 2000 Wyoming
Water Development Commission funding authorizations, the grant/loan ratio was 60% grant
($159,000) and 40% loan ($106,000). The collateral provided was in the form of an escrow account,
which was established prior to the disbursement of any Wyoming Water Development Commission
funds. The district repaid the $106,000 in loan funds at the November 8, 2001 Commission meeting,
thereby freeing up the escrow account, currently with a balance of over $165,000 for use on the next
phase of dam and reservoir construction. Money to repay the $106,000 Wyoming Water
Development Commission loan was received by the district in the form of federal reimbursement
funding from the EPA/DEQ Section 319 program.
Since the sites are located on BLM lands, maintenance of the currently constructed dams and
reservoirs is being assumed by the Bureau of Land Management under operating agreements
between them and the district. Maintenance of additional dams and reservoirs constructed will be
handled in a similar manner.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
The WWDC recommends the project be incorporated in the New Development program at Level III
with an appropriation of $500,000.