In 1984, the States of Wyoming, Utah and Idaho joined forces to evaluate the potential to
construct storage on the Smiths Fork of the Bear River, which would provide benefits to all three
states. The project would provide a reliable water supply, and generate electricity. The project
would also improve water quality and provide flood control and recreation benefits. In 1986, the
State of Utah prepared an economic feasibility report which concluded that the project was
economically feasible only if all three states participated in financing the project.
The project could provide flood control, recreation, hydropower, and supplemental irrigation
water supply benefits to Wyoming water users and the public. Presently, the tri-state Smiths Fork
project appears to be the most economical means to develop the Cokeville and Cokeville
Development Association's storage allocation of 14,520 acre-feet. Therefore, the WWDC has
included the Smiths Fork among its candidates for state projects to be pursued when the states of
Utah and Idaho are able to obtain their share of required project funding.
In 1988, the U.S. Corps of Engineers (COE) prepared a development plan for the entire Bear
River. The report was completed in 1989. Several options were identified. The report verified
that a dam on the Smiths Fork would provide considerable flood control, storage and water
quality benefits. However, the economic assessment concluded that the project had an
unfavorable benefit-cost ratio and, therefore, would not be eligible for federal funding under
existing criteria. The project is presently on hold status in the New Development Program.
RECOMMENDED LEGISLATIVE ACTION:
The WWDC recommends that the project be retained at Level II-Hold status.