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Wyoming Water Development Commission

Michael K. Purcell, Director
6920 Yellowtail Road
Cheyenne, WY 82002

May 2009, Fourth Edition


The Fourth Edition of the Wyoming Water Management and Conservation Assistance Programs Directory was written and compiled by Ronald E. Vore, Water Conservationist, edited by Chris Nicholson, Phil Ogle and Jon Wade, Planning Administrator.

Photography: Photos provided by State of Wyoming, Department of Commerce, Division of Cultural Resources.

Inside Photos and Clip Art: Uses of images provided by ArtToday 1999 ( Official logos from agency website were also used.

For Additional Information:
Ron Vore (307) 777-7626

Jon Wade (307) 777-7626

Water Management & Conservation Assistance Programs Directory


Water users and managers interested in a voluntary management and conservation program or project should be aware of the many incentive assistance programs available to help a well devised and organized plan succeed. It is the intent of the Wyoming Water Development Commission water management and conservation planning effort to compile and organize all available information relative to financial and technical assistance.

There are numerous programs run by various agencies and organizations that are potential sources of assistance to water users. Local Conservation Districts, Ducks Unlimited, Trout Unlimited, Cooperative Extension, Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts, Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems, Wyoming Department of Agriculture, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Wyoming State Engineer’s Office, Wyoming Water Development Commission, Bureau of Land Management, US Army Corps of Engineers, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bureau of Reclamation, US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the US Geological Survey are all potential sources of information, technical assistance and cost-share funding opportunities.

It is important to recognize that project applications are stronger when assistance is leveraged among partners. It is also important to recognize that private funding contributions, such as in-kind provisions, are crucial to the development and acceptance of water management and conservation implementation proposals. Information such as source, program description and availability of funding are available to user groups and decision makers in this directory.

The water management and conservation assistance programs directory is an overview of local, state and federal programs, each with a separate section. Individual entries are tabbed for convenience and will be ordered alphabetically. Description of respective programs, a contact name, number and electronic address are included as available. This directory is provided as an opportunity to review a description of local, state and federal assistance available to water users in Wyoming. It is constructed in a format that can be changed as needed, recognizing that programs and personnel change. This directory will hopefully provide the user with program descriptions and basic information from which to further pursue additional, in-depth information. This also allows for partners to be assembled for assistance in program and project development.


Local Contact Phone Email
Conservation Districts Bobbie Frank 632-5716
Ducks Unlimited Carol Perry 472-6980
WY Council of Trout Unlimited Scott Yates 733-6991
Office of State Lands & InvestmentsLynne Boomgaarden 777-7331
University of WY - Cooperative Extension Service Glen Whipple 766-5124
WY Association of Conservation DistrictsBobbie Frank 632-5716
WY Association of Rural Water SystemsMark Pepper 436-8636
WY Business Council Cindy Garretson-Weibel 777-2860
WY Game & Fish Department Gary Butler 777-4565
WY Department of Agriculture Leanne Stevenson 777-6579
WY Department of Environmental Quality Keith Guille 777-7072
Water Resources Data System Steve Gray 766-6659
WY State Engineer’s Office Pat Tyrrell 777-6150
WY Water Association Robin Gray 286-8614
WY Water Development Commission Jon Wade 777-7626
WY Wildlife and Natural Resources Trust Bob Budd 856-4665
Bureau of Land Management Rick Schuler 775-6092
US Army Corps of Engineers Matt Bilodeau 772-2300
Natural Resources Conservation Service Cherie Schoonover 233-6750
USDA - Farm Service Agency Cindy Hottel 261-5081 cindy.
Rural Utilities Service Alana Cannon 233-6719
United States Bureau of Reclamation John Lawson 261-5671
United States Forest Service Ron Graham 777-3368
United States Fish & Wildlife Service Mark Hogan 332-8719
United States Geological Survey David Mott 778-2931



Contact:    Bobbie Frank    632-5716

Conservation districts are locally lead, locally elected county government entities. They function as representatives of local people with responsibility to natural resource issues. Local conservation district boards perform as a liaison between local landowners and resource users and state and federal government agencies.

Conservation districts are providers of information and education at the local level. Districts also provide technical assistance as local resources, capacity and expertise allow. They can also assist in development and implementation of program and project design and funding. This is done through assistance in proposal preparation, presentation and pursuit of grant assistance.

Conservation districts can also provide funding assistance, often through in-kind contributions such as staff time and technical aid. Local conservation districts can provide administration of programs, projects and grants on behalf of recipients of state and federal natural resource programs. Districts can assist with the development of leveraged, partnered programs and projects. For more information visit:

Conservation District City Phone
Cody Cody 587-6763
Converse County Douglas 358-3050
Crook County NRDSundance 283-2501
Dubois-CrowheartDubois 455-3688
Hot Springs Thermopolis 864-3488
Campbell County Gillette 682-1824
Lake DeSmet Buffalo 684-2526
Laramie County Cheyenne 772-2600
Laramie Rivers Laramie 721-0072
Lincoln Cokeville 279-3256
Lingle-Ft LaramieTorrington 532-4880
Little Snake RiverBaggs 383-7860
Lower Wind RiverRiverton 856-7524
Medicine Bow Medicine Bow 379-2221
Meeteetse Meeteetse 868-2484
Natrona County Casper 234-4022
Niobrara County Lusk 334-2953
North Platte ValleyTorrington 532-4880
Platte County Wheatland 322-9060
Popo Agie Lander 332-3114
Powder River Kaycee 738-2321
Powell-Clarks ForkPowell 754-9301
Sheridan County Sheridan 672-5820
Shoshone Lovell 548-7422
South Big Horn Greybull 765-2483
South Goshen Torrington 532-4880
Star Valley Afton 885-7823
Sublette County Pinedale 367-2257
Sweetwater CountyRock Springs 362-3062
Teton County Jackson 733-2110
Uinta County Lyman 787-3794
Washakie County Worland 347-2456
Weston County Newcastle 746-3264


Contact:   Carol Perry    472-6980

Ducks Unlimited, Inc. is a funding source for wetlands and waterfowl restoration. Ducks Unlimited (DU) conducts program development through a “Partner” agency in providing short term project funding assistance. Money availability is limited to what is within the organizational system. Generally, there is $20,000 to $30,000 available annually statewide with additional funding support from project specific donations.

Ducks Unlimited offers a waterfowl habitat development and protection program called MARSH which stands for Matching Aid to Restore States Habitat. This is a reimbursement program that provides matching funds for restoration, protection or enhancement of wetlands. The financial extent of this program is dependent on DU’s income within the state.

MARSH projects must significantly benefit waterfowl. Projects receiving funding support must be on lands that can demonstrate at least a 30 year project life at a minimum. Groups requesting assistance must be able to demonstrate capacity to execute long-term habitat agreements, deliver and manage projects and be willing to assume project liability. DU’s goal is to match MARSH funds equally with private, state or federal sources. Their objective is to obtain maximum leverage possible to maximize benefit to waterfowl. Therefore, leveraged projects have a greater likelihood of being approved.

Specifics for proposal submission, budget preparation, project development and receipt of funding can be further explained by DU’s local coordinator. He can provide additional information relating to the program and provide “Partner” contact opportunities at a local level.


Contact:    Scott Yates    733-6991

The mission of the Wyoming Council of Trout Unlimited is to conserve, protect and restore Wyoming’s coldwater (trout) fisheries and their watersheds. The Council is made up of 16 Chapters located throughout the state.

While a majority of Trout Unlimited members are indeed enthusiastic anglers, our focus is not only on maintaining fisheries for the purpose of angling. We believe that healthy trout fisheries are indicative of well-functioning, sound ecosystems and that the work we do toward restoring good trout habitat will ultimately benefit the overall environment.

Of special concern are Wyoming’s four subspecies of native cutthroat trout that currently inhabit a tiny fraction of their historic range. Working with federal and state agencies, local officials and landowners, Wyoming Trout Unlimited is actively engaged in a battle to keep these fish from being listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Trout Unlimited provides funding and volunteer labor for a variety of stream and watershed projects such as erosion control and fish habitat structures, willow and other riparian plantings and stream protection fencing. Embrace-A-Stream grants are available for up to $10,000 per project. Partnerships are encouraged and can include local conservation districts and state and federal agencies. Those interested should contact the Council office.



Contact:    Lynne Boomgaarden    777-7331

The Office of State Lands & Investments is the administrative arm of the Board of Land Commissioners and the State Loan and Investment Board. It is the statutory responsibility of the Office of State Lands & Investments to carry out the policy directives and decisions of these two Boards.

The organizational structure of Office of State Lands & Investments consists of the Office of the Director and five divisions: Financial Programs and Management Services, Real Estate Management and Farm Loans, Mineral Leasing and Royalty Compliance, Wyoming State Forestry and Information Technology. Collectively, these divisions serve the trust beneficiaries - Wyoming's school children and state institutions; numerous clients in agriculture, mineral, timber, transportation, communication, public utility, recreation, tourism and other Wyoming industries; local government entities; state and federal agencies; and the resident and non-resident general public.

Farm Loan Program established in 1921, provides long term real estate loans to Wyoming’s agricultural operators. The use of this program has been expanded over the years to also include loans for the purchase of livestock and to assist beginning agricultural producers.

The Irrigation Loans Program established in 1955, is designed to support small and large agricultural water development projects. The Legislature has allocated a total of $275 million for loans under the Farm Loan Program and $20 million for the Irrigation Loan Program. Both programs are funded from the Wyoming Permanent Mineral Trust Fund

Joint Powers Act Loan Program was established in 1974 the Legislature authorized the Joint Powers Act Loan Program to benefit local communities for infrastructure needs. These loans are approved from funds within the State’s Permanent Mineral Trust Fund. These programs are an aid to cities, counties and special districts in providing needed government services and public facilities. For the period January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2009, the interest rate is 5.06% for Joint Powers Act Loans. In January 2010, the State Treasurer will calculate a new interest rate for calendar year 2010.


Contact:    Glen Whipple    766-5124

The University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service is an educational and technical resource. At the local level, County Extension offices serve as a contact point to gain assistance from faculty and staff at the University of Wyoming campus at Laramie. County extension educators may be able to provide assistance in gathering information, help with problem solving and also provide local leadership in preparation and presentation of assistance proposals for grant aid. Local cooperative extension personnel can assist with meeting organization, contact of outside resources and administration of projects.

UW Cooperative Extension Service website:

County Phone Email
Albany County 721-2571
Big Horn County 765-2868
Campbell County 682-7281
Carbon County 328-2642
Converse County 358-2417
Crook County 283-1192
Fremont County/Lander332-2363
Fremont County/Riverton
Goshen County 532-2436
Hot Springs County864-3421
Johnson County 684-7522
Laramie County 633-4383
Lincoln County 885-3132
Natrona County 235-9400
Niobrara County 334-3534
Park County 754-8836
Platte County 322-3667
Sheridan County 674-2980
Sublette County 367-4380
Sweetwater County352-6775
Teton County 733-3087
Uinta County 783-0570
Washakie County 347-3431
Weston County 746-3531
Wind River Reservation332-2135


Contact:    Bobbie Frank    632-5716

The Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts is implementing a program to address locally driven watershed efforts. The goal of this program is to increase and enhance locally driven watershed planning and implementation efforts.

As part of this program, two Statewide Watershed Specialists were retained. The Statewide Specialists have assisted Districts with the development and implementation of watershed plans. For more information on this program, please visit the WACD website at and click on the water resources link.


Contact:    Mark Pepper    436-8636

Wyoming Association of Rural Water Systems (WARWS) is a member driven, non-profit Association, affiliated with National Rural Water Association (NRWA). WARWS, NRWA and its state affiliates comprise the largest utility membership organization in the nation representing nearly 27,000 small and rural water and wastewater systems that serve over 1/3 of all Americans.

Wyoming Rural Water
The mission of WARWS is to provide the assistance necessary to meet the needs of our membership and to ensure the protection of Wyoming's water - our most precious resource. By providing on-site, one-on-one technical assistance and training we can help the State's operators with their commitment and their profession of providing "Quality on Tap!"

We work in concert with our state drinking water primacy agency, the US EPA, as well as state agencies such as DEQ and the Department of Health. No state agency has the available personnel or budget to allow for field staff to provide the following services.

The Training and Technical Assistance Program began in 1989. Water and wastewater operators must be certified and undergo continuous education. This program organizes professional training programs for operators and system decision-makers. Training courses are directed toward everyday problems that systems encounter particularly items that pertain to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).  Courses are submitted to Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for certification of contact hours to be credited to operators' state license requirements. Our training classes provide nearly all of the state’s certified operators with their continuous education requirements annually. In 2008, over 10,000 man hours of training were conducted.

Our 2 Circuit Riders (CR)  travel the State answering requests for help from a large portion of approximately 778 public water systems in the state. Typical tasks that the CR is asked to perform are: (each CR is a road warrior who makes over 420 on site visits each program year.)

  • Giving advice on rate structures and forming new districts.
  • Training operators in the operation and maintenance of their system.
  • Developing a system of maintenance.
  • Helping take required tests and teach operators the correct testing methods.
  • Assisting with specific maintenance problems.
  • Testing of meters in the field.
  • Leak and line location.
  • Training on record keeping.
  • Reducing cost of power and water losses.
  • Any other service to help the water system succeed.

The Wastewater Program was started in June of 1993. The WW technician performs many of the same functions as the CR, specializing in the wastewater field. With approximately 200 wastewater systems in the state, he is able to visit these systems with greater frequency. A large part of this assistance is directed toward the treatment of wastewater collection systems and the maintenance of lagoons. This program also facilitates training for Wyoming's wastewater operators. This program specialist provides a mix of on site technical assistance and both on site and classroom training. Over 420 visits are conducted annually for technical assistance and training by this program.

Two WARWS programs work hand-in-hand to ensure a safe and abundant supply of drinking water now and in the future for Wyoming's residents. The Groundwater/Wellhead Protection (GW/WHP) program. It was started in April 1994 and suspended at the end of 2006 as Congress chose not to fund this program since. The program incorporates a five-step plan with small systems to start GW/WHP programs in their systems. It begins with the formation of a committee to identify problems and possible contamination sites and works to form a plan for emergency delivery of water in case of unsafe water conditions. While not funded, we give direction on this program as needed to systems through on site contacts by our other program specialists.

Our newest program is the Source Water Protection Program. Funded by a congressional appropriation through a 1996 amendment to the Safe Drinking Water Act but suspended at the end of 2006 as Congress chose not to fund this program for the future, the program expands upon the efforts of Wellhead Protection to provide water protection planning to both groundwater and surface water systems. Funding for this program was restored by Congress in 2009. The program is a multi-jurisdictional, multi-barrier approach to water protection accomplished through the formation of partnerships of all water users in the designated protection area. With Wyoming being a headwater state, this program may be more vital now than when it originally began. Coal Bed Methane issues, leaking solid waste sites, increased energy development are all contributing to increased risks of potential contamination.

Although our program requirements stipulate working primarily with systems that are eligible for RUS funding, we respond to all calls and lend assistance where possible to any system. Of particular concern to our technical staff is ineligible systems such as Dude Ranches, private camp grounds, mobile home/RV parks called transient non community (for profit) systems which are not as regulated as community systems but account for 100% of all water borne disease outbreaks in Wyoming. We are able to assist these systems only when requested by EPA to help mitigate an administrative order (notice of violation). We continue to push state agencies and legislatures to develop a similar State Circuit Rider program for these systems so that violations could be avoided instead of attempting to help mitigate and correct violations.

Mark Pepper, Executive Director (307) 259-6903
Jane West, Office Manager  
Donna Uribe, Administrative Coordinator (307) 258-3414
Jim Van Dorn, Registered Circuit Rider (307) 277-5770
Ross Jorgensen, Circuit Rider (307) 251-2803
Kathy Weinsaft, Training Specialist (307) 262-3943
Mark Court, Registered Wastewater Trainer (307) 262-3974
Dan Coughlin, Source Water Specialist (307) 277-6986


Contact:    Cindy Garretson-Weibel    777-2860

The Wyoming Business Council was created by the Legislature in July, 1998 to diversify and strengthen Wyoming’s per capita income and job creation base across all business and industry sectors. The “end-game goal” for all divisions within the Council is that jobs and per capita income across the State meet and exceed national averages. Several main drivers are the focal point of the Strategic Plan:

  1. Establish new job generation through the recruitment of targeted industries and their support businesses into the state.
  2. Capture and strengthen existing job generation through the growth of the state’s existing business and industry base.
  3. Leverage and maximize the efficiencies of government entities and private business to facilitate job growth and economic activities within the state.
  4. Facilitate value added product development as a contributor to new job growth.
  5. Facilitate capital formation as an enabler of business location and expansion.
  6. Build a statewide and local service and packaging network for economic growth.

The Wyoming Business Council maintains memberships, partnerships and strategic alliances with private organizations, local economic development agencies, state government agencies throughout the country and the federal government. The Council is responsible for administration of programs such as Community Development Block Grant, Main Street Program, USDA Rural Rehabilitation Funds, etc.

The objective of the Agri-Business Division is to expand agricultural, timber, and value-added (consumer goods) for Wyoming by increasing related skills and knowledge, conduct marketing research, facilitate agricultural, timber, and value-added business development/expansions and provide consumer and industry information on specific commodities produced in the State. This objective is carried out through three key program areas.

Leadership/Education & Rural Rehabilitation Program – Contact: Cindy Garretson-Weibel, 307-777-6589.

“Wyoming First”, Value-Added Food Goods, & Federal State Market Improvement Program - Contact: Ted Craig, 307-777-6578.

Domestic and International Marketing of Livestock, Genetics & Forage Commodities - Contact: Jason Fearneyhough 307-777-2862.

Division Director - Bill Bunce, 307-777-2860


Contact:    Gary Butler    777-4565

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department offers a funding program to help landowners, conservation groups, institutions, land managers, government agencies, industry and non-profit organizations develop and/or maintain water sources for fish and wildlife. This program also provides funding for the improvement and/or protection of riparian/wetland areas for fish and wildlife resources in Wyoming. Applications for projects are accepted any time with approval on January 1 and August 1 of each year.

Riparian Habitat Improvement Grant. The purpose of this program is to improve or maintain riparian and wetland resources. Fencing, herding, stock water development, streambank stabilization, small damming projects and beaver transplanting are a few examples of efforts that qualify under this program. Permits, NEPA compliance, construction, maintenance, access and management planning are all grantee responsibilities. There is $10,000/project maximum available with 50% cash or in-kind required from grantee.

Water Development/Maintenance Habitat Project Grant. The purpose of this program is to develop or maintain water for fish and wildlife. Spring development, windmills, guzzlers, water protection and pumping payments are examples of the extent of this program. Permits, NEPA compliance, maintenance, access and water righting are responsibilities of the grantee. There is a maximum of $7500/project and 50% cash or in-kind contribution required from the grantee.

Industrial Water Habitat Project Fund. The purpose of this program is to develop water sources beneficial to fish and wildlife that are located by industrial drilling, mining or excavation operations. Examples of projects are tapped artesian wells, springs or ground water that could be used for wildlife watering or creation of wetlands or ponds. Industry must meet set criteria, obtain permitting and access, clean-up and restore the site and provide NEPA compliance. There is no funding limit nor no matching contribution needed for these projects.

Upland Development Grant. The purpose of this program is to develop upland wildlife habitat. Examples of projects in this program are shrub management, grazing systems, prescribed burning, wildlife food plots such as oat, millet or corn plantings, range pitting and range seeding. Permits, NEPA compliance, maintenance, access and management planning are responsibilities of the grantee. There is a maximum of $10,000/project and 50% cash or in-kind contribution required from the grantee.

Fish Wyoming. The purpose of this program is to develop public fishing opportunities. Examples of projects within this effort are boat ramps and fishing access. This program provides a 50% match of funding which is channeled through a private organization or municipality.


Contact:    Leanne Stevenson    777-6579

Water Quality: Protect the quality of surface and groundwater through the establishment of guideline programs for wellhead protection, pesticide container disposal, confined livestock feeding, rangeland best management practices, enhanced riparian and wetland management, implementation of Farm Bill programs, development of a State Water plan and continuation of voluntary Ag Non-Point Source Pollution.

Conservation Districts: Enhance abilities of conservation districts to protect water quality and natural resources. Provide comprehensive leadership training and assist in developing coalitions with all natural resource users, managers and owners. Provide grants for local conservation districts.

Coordinated Resource Management: Use the CRM process to resolve natural resource conflicts, protect water quality and enhance natural resources. Facilitate partnership at the local level. Provide CRM awareness sessions and facilitation training.

Policy: Research, analyze, and develop locally supported policies that recognizes the importance of water management to wildlife and agricultural interests.

Coordination of Critical Natural Resource Issues: Plan, coordinate and develop natural resource management strategies with local, state and federal partners. Provide information and assistance at the local level for the development of natural resource management plans and strategies.

Mediation: Develop and implement a mediation program to assist natural resource managers in resolving conflicts through improved communication, cooperation and coordination. Provide a voluntary mediation process for dispute and conflict resolution.

New Technologies: Research and implement new technologies to promote better management of natural resources. Establish demonstration sites to evaluate remote sensing, GIS, GLA and watershed management software. Provide education to natural resource owners, managers and users on the benefits and effectiveness of new technologies.


Contact:    Keith Guille    777-7072

Mission Statements for Three Sections of the Water Quality Division

The mission of the Groundwater Protection Section is to prevent, reduce, and eliminate groundwater pollution; and to protect, preserve, and enhance existing and potential groundwater uses; and, when excessive pollution is discovered, require restoration of pre-existing groundwater uses and the protection of public health and the environment.

This is accomplished by:

  1. Administering a preventative permit to construct program to ensure that point sources of groundwater pollution are designed, constructed and capable of being operated to protect groundwater use standards;
  2. Carefully evaluating the self compliance monitoring reports to ensure that releases of pollution do not impact groundwater in excess of allowed amounts or to ensure corrective action is progressing in an effective and timely manner;
  3. Administering a preventative voluntary program by promoting the use of Best Management Practices (BMP) and providing information to owners of non-point groundwater pollution sources directed at protecting groundwater;
  4. Utilizing groundwater vulnerability mapping and other groundwater related information to prioritize resources in administering groundwater protection activities for non-point sources of groundwater pollution;
  5. Investigating groundwater pollution complaints, standard or permit exceedances and requiring the responsible party of excessive groundwater pollution to take necessary corrective actions to reduce or eliminate the pollution and protect public health and groundwater uses;
  6. Requiring responsible parties of spills that have caused groundwater pollution to take necessary corrective actions to restore groundwater use, prevent further environmental damage and threats to public health; and
  7. Coordinating and cooperating with local governments, other state agencies, agencies of other states, and the federal government to develop and implement a comprehensive approach to groundwater protection.
  8. Oversee the construction and operation of Underground/Aboveground Fuel Storage Tanks to assure protection of public health and safety and the groundwater and to conduct corrective action projects where leaking underground storage tanks have polluted the groundwater and pose threats to public health and safety.
  9. Assist local governments with the review of subdivision applications to assure safe and compatible sewage disposal and water supply systems.

The mission of the Watershed Management Section is to protect and restore the quality of Wyoming’s surface water resources to assure they support their designated uses. This mission is accomplished through implementation of the following programs:

  1. Permits are issued for discharge of pollutants to surface water. These permits contain limits to assure that public health and the receiving waters uses are protected.
  2. Stormwater runoff permits are issued for projects which disturb five or more surface acres and for certain industrial sites. Project proponents must develop and implement pollution prevention/erosion control plans.
  3. Review of certain federal actions to assure that Water Quality Standards will be achieved for activities that may affect waters of the state (primarily Section 404 Dredge and Fill Permits and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) licenses).
  4. The section operates the state wetlands banking program which provides incentives for voluntary wetland creation, restoration and enhancement activities. Under the program, credit can be awarded for wetland improvements and can be used to mitigate impacts from future development activities. The goal of the program is to help achieve no net loss of wetlands on a watershed basis.
  5. A voluntary nonpoint source control program utilizes education, demonstration and cost-share grants to local entities to address water quality problems which result from diffuse pollution sources such as runoff associated with land use activities.
  6. Surface water bodies are protected by standards which describe the minimum acceptable water quality conditions and maximum pollutant concentrations. The standards include designations of protected uses, numeric and narrative criteria designed to achieve those uses, and an antidegradation policy to maintain the highest possible water quality.
  7. A process to identify waterbodies that are impaired or at threat of impairment and to focus resources and processes on these impaired waterbodies to restore and protect their designated uses.
  8. Conduct an ambient water quality monitoring program to identify those waters which are supporting their uses, those waters which are impaired, to identify sources of impairment, to verify stream classifications, to establish discharge limits, to verify program effectiveness, and where necessary, to develop Total Maximum Daily Loads.
  9. Conduct regular inspections of permitted discharge points and respond to complaints concerning unauthorized discharges to surface waters of the state.

The mission of the Water and Wastewater Section is to prevent, reduce and eliminate pollution of the surface and ground waters of the state in order to preserve and enhance the water resources of the state and to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the environment and the inhabitants of the state. This mission is accomplished through implementation of the following activities and programs:

  1. Prevention of pollution through wastewater construction permits. The purpose of these permits is to insure the design, construction and operation of facilities capable of providing the required treatment and prevention of pollution.
  2. Issuance of public water supply construction permits. The purpose of these permits is to insure the design, construction and operation of facilities capable of delivering a safe and reliable potable water supply.
  3. Assure that technically competent personnel operate public water supply systems and public sewerage systems.
  4. Respond to reporting of spills, assure proper cleanup and follow-up reporting of releases that enter or threaten to enter waters of the state.
  5. In cooperation with the Office of State Lands and Investment, administers low interest loan programs for publicly owned water supply systems and wastewater treatment projects.
  6. Assure that public water supplies systems have the technical, managerial and financial capability to operate these systems in compliance with the requirements of state and federal laws. To assist these systems with the development of source water protection programs.
  7. Permit the construction, operation and closure of large confined swine feeding operations.
  8. Authorize land application and surface disposal of biosolids generated during the treatment of domestic sewage in treatment works.
  9. Work with local governments to carry out these responsibilities and delegate programs where applicable.
  10. Provides field inspection and technical assistance to permitted facilities as resources allow.


Contact:    Steve Gray    766-6659

The Water Resources Data System (WRDS) is a clearinghouse of hydrological and climatological data for the State of Wyoming. WRDS offers a wide variety of products and services to its users, including retrievals for water resources information from in-house databases, CD-ROM products, and alternate data systems from across the region and/or country via the Internet. WRDS is actively migrating its databases to the World Wide Web (WWW) environment for online access by its users. Currently, The Wyoming Water Bibliography, Water Quality, and Water Level databases are accessible in this manner. Cooperative data posting efforts with federal and state agencies in Wyoming have led to additional water resources information being disseminated through the site. Online data may be accessed at the following URL:

Funded by an allocation from the Wyoming Water Development Commission, the system strives to provide the most comprehensive compilation of water resource information available to its requesters. Operating in such a one-stop shopping environment mandates not only linkages to other databases, but also the keen awareness of who the end users are and how the data will be utilized, which can be as varied as the number of sources of information. Furthermore, WRDS includes a comprehensive and ever-expanding circulation library that houses important water resource information. The library can be accessed at the following URL:

Phone: (307) 766-6651
Fax: (307) 766-3785


Contact:    Pat Tyrrell    777-6150

The Wyoming State Engineer’s Office is charged with the regulation and administration of the water resources in Wyoming.

Wyoming water law operates under the prior appropriation doctrine, or “first in time, first in right.” Those holding an earlier priority water right are allowed to receive their full portion of water before those with junior rights during times of water regulation.

Permits can be issued to anyone who plans to make beneficial use of the water thereby establishing a water right. Recognized beneficial uses include, but are not limited to: irrigation, municipal, industrial, power generation, recreational, stock, domestic, pollution control, instream flows (State-held), and miscellaneous. Water right holders are limited to the amount of water that can be beneficially used.


The Surface Water and Engineering Division is responsible for reviewing applications to put surface water of the state to a beneficial use. Permits are issued for 1) transporting water through a ditch or pipeline; 2) storage in reservoirs; 3)storage in smaller (under 20 acre-feet in capacity and a dam height less than 20 feet) reservoirs for stock water, wildlife, wetlands, and fish propagation; 4) enlargements to existing ditch or storage facilities; and 5) instream flow purposes.

This division also carries out the Safety of Dams program for Wyoming for larger or potentially hazardous storage facilities. The State Engineer is responsible for regulating the safety and structural integrity of water storage facilities in the state. On-site inspections of facilities are made and any new or rehabilitation construction plans must be reviewed and approved by the State Engineer’s Office.

The Instream Flow Law, enacted by the 1986 Wyoming Legislature, provides that maintenance of stream flows for fisheries is considered a beneficial use. Unlike other water rights, which may be applied for by the general public, only the Wyoming Water Development Commission may apply for an instream flow water right.


By statutory authorization in 1947, the Ground Water Division began issuing appropriations for all ground water uses except stock and domestic. As of March 1, 1958, a permit was required prior to the drilling of any well except stock and domestic. By amendment effective May 24, 1969, all water wells, including stock and domestic, require a State Engineer’s Office permit prior to drilling.

Three ground water management districts called Control Areas have been established in the southeast portion of the state. All applications for new wells exceeding 25 gallons per minute (gpm) (exempting stock, domestic, and miscellaneous under 25 gpm) or petitions for change of existing ground water use within the boundaries of the control areas must pass through an additional level of review involving public notice and recommendations from a 5-member elected Advisory Board prior to approval.

The State Engineer is empowered to require driller’s reports, water use reports, create well spacing requirements and well construction standards, and to require wells to be sealed. The Ground Water Division maintains a statewide observation well network, conducts interference investigations, water right adjudication inspections, and reviews reports of water supply adequacy for subdivisions.


Wyoming’s drainages are divided into four water divisions for field administration and regulation of water rights by hydrographer-commissioners. Each of these divisions is headed by a Superintendent whose offices are located in Torrington, Sheridan, Riverton, and Cokeville. The four Superintendents plus the State Engineer comprise the Wyoming State Board of Control.

The Board of Control is responsible for the adjudication of a permit which is in good standing. The adjudication procedure includes a field inspection to assure that water is being put to a beneficial use as specified under the permit.

The Board of Control is also responsible for all changes in point of diversion, changes in use, changes in the place of use, or abandonment of a water right.


As a headwaters state, Wyoming is party to seven interstate Compacts and two federal Court Decrees. In addition to participating in the interstate commissions that have been established to administer these compacts, the State Engineer also participates in a number of basin- or region-wide water resource groups and associations.

Wyoming is a party to the following Compacts and U.S. Supreme Court Decrees:

  • Colorado River Compact, 1922 – This Compact divides the basin at Lee Ferry, Arizona. It provides that the Upper Basin States may use 7.5 million acre-feet annually.
  • Upper Colorado River Compact, 1948 – This Compact apportions 14% of the water allocated to the Upper Basin States in the Colorado River Compact to Wyoming.
  • Amended Bear River Compact, 1978 – This Compact provides for the administration of flows and storage between Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming.
  • Belle Fourche River Compact, 1943 – This Compact allocates new uses after 1943, of which 10% goes to Wyoming and 90% goes to South Dakota.
  • Snake River Compact, 1949 – This Compact specifies that Wyoming may divert 4% of the Idaho – Wyoming state line flow for post-1949 uses.
  • Upper Niobrara River Compact, 1962 – This compact restricts storage in reservoirs that are larger than 500 acre-feet in capacity.
  • Yellowstone River Compact, 1950 – this Compact allocates the flows of the Powder, Tongue, Bighorn and Clarks Fork Rivers between Montana and Wyoming
  • North Platte River Court Decree, 1945, modified in 2001 – the Supreme Court ruled that Wyoming can annually irrigate up to 226,000 acres above Guernsey Reservoir. The natural flow is split below Whalen Dam in the following manner: 25% to Wyoming and 75% to Nebraska.
  • Laramie River Court Decree, 1922, 1936 and 1957 – This Court Decree allows Colorado to divert up to 39, 750 acre-feet per year.


Ron Cunningham332-2363
Robin Gray286-8614

"The objectives of the Wyoming Water Association are to promote the development, conservation and utilization of the water resources of Wyoming for the benefit of Wyoming people."

Founded in 1933, the Wyoming Water Association (WWA) is a non-profit corporation and is our only statewide water resources association. We are a voluntary organization of private citizens, elected officials, and representatives of business, government agencies, industry and water user groups and districts. Any individual, organization, agency or group interested in the purposes and objectives of the Wyoming Water Association may become a member by paying annual dues. The Board of Directors consists of not less than 10 persons selected from water interest sectors, with a minimum of two persons from the agriculture; industry, business and education; recreation, conservation and environment; local government; and labor and civic categories.

The WWA is the only statewide uniform voice representing all types of water users; providing policy input, information and feedback to state and federal legislators and agency managers concerning the development, management and use of Wyoming’s most precious natural resource.

The State of Wyoming and the federal government have invested millions of dollars in water system infrastructure. The WWA provides up to date information on the state and federal funding programs that are necessary to maintain these facilities and develop other needed uses. More information about the Association’s activities is found on our website:

The Association holds its annual conference (education seminar and annual meeting) in late October. The 2009 conference in Thermopolis will be a joint meeting with the Upper Missouri Water Association (UMWA). This year’s conference, titled “Water Management Challenges in Headwater States – It’s all downhill from here”, will highlight regional issues important to Upper Missouri water users as well as topics of interest to all of Wyoming water users. The educational portion of the conference will qualify participants for CLE credits.

Phone: (307) 286-8614
Email: or


Contact:    Jon Wade    777-7626

The Wyoming Water Development Commission provides grant and loan funding for water supply reconnaissance and feasibility studies and construction projects. Funding for studies and construction projects comes from mineral taxes. All planning studies and construction projects must be approved for funding by the Wyoming Legislature. Applicants must be public entities such as municipalities, irrigation districts, service and improvement districts, or joint powers boards. Projects must address water supply, transmission, or storage.

Project Planning: The WWDC funds and manages both Level I Reconnaissance studies and Level II Feasibility studies. Level I studies carry out necessary reconnaissance work, while Level II studies determine a projects' feasibility. Levels I and II are one hundred percent grant funded. Project construction is covered in Level III.

Project applications originate with sponsoring entities. New applications must be received by the WWDC by September 15 of each year. The Wyoming legislature must authorize each project and approve funding before a project is initiated, and before it advances to the next level.

Construction: Once a project receives a Level III authorization, the staff of the Construction Division works with project sponsors to establish the legal documentation making state funds available and ensuring that the project constructed complies with the description, intent, and budget as specified in the enabling legislation. One of the professional staff is assigned to each construction project from design through construction and warranty acceptance. The Construction Division assists the sponsor with design engineer selection, plan and specification review, award of the construction contract, and reviews and approves all project payments. Commission policy allows for grants of fifty percent of the eligible portions of new development and rehabilitation projects. The remainder of funding for eligible portions can be loaned at an interest rate set by the State Loan and Investment Board, currently 6% for new development and rehabilitation projects. Sponsors may choose to fund the loan portion from other sources.

River Basin Planning: The purpose of river basin planning is to gather and make available accurate, contemporary water information. This would include such information as hydrology for the average wet, dry, and normal year, GIS format coverage maps of irrigated land masses, well locations, headgate locations, estimates of consumptive water use, and projection of future water demands. River Basin Planning will assist the Legislature and the Governor in developing effective state water policies to protect Wyoming's water and promote responsible development. It will also quantify Wyoming's water resource allocations available under our Compacts and Decrees and give Wyoming citizens access to the water information they need to deal with water issues at the grassroots level. The completion of each river basin plan is achieved with the help of the public, private consultants, and State and Federal agencies. For each basin plan there is a considerable amount of public participation namely with the development of a local Basin Advisory Group (BAG). BAG membership is made up of people residing within the specific basin being studied. The BAG determines membership, meeting rules, bi-monthly BAG meeting dates, times and locations. One of the most important functions of the BAG is to provide input throughout the entire planning process by advising the consultants on local issues, data needs, and regional concerns to be addressed in the final plan, as well as reviewing the final basin planning products.

Groundwater Grant Program: The 1981 and 1984 Wyoming Legislatures addressed W.S. 41-2-119 which authorized the Water Development Commission to grant up to four million dollars ($4,000,000) to incorporated cities and towns for exploration programs to evaluate the potential use of underground water for municipal purposes. During the 2002 session, the Legislature appropriated an additional one million five hundred thousand dollars ($1,500,000) for the groundwater grant program and included water and sewer districts and improvement and service districts in addition to cities and towns, which were already eligible to receive groundwater grants, as eligible grant recipients. Authorized entities are eligible to receive up to $400,000 in grant funds and are required to provide 25% of the total project costs in local matching funds. The primary purpose of the program is to inventory the available groundwater resources in the state where data on aquifer resources are scarce. The program also serves to assist communities in the development of efficient water supplies. The program is not a well rehabilitation program that, for instance, replaces failed wells or repairs deficient wells. Unlike other projects within the Water Development Program, funding for projects that meet the criteria of the Groundwater Grant Program can be allocated directly by the WWDC without legislative action.

Small Water Project Program: The Small Water Project Program (SWPP) is intended to be compatible with the Wyoming Water Development Commission conventional program and criteria and to parallel and partner with other local, state and federal programs that perform water resource planning and water development in Wyoming. Small water projects are defined as those projects that provide multiple benefits and where estimated construction costs, permit procurement, construction engineering and project land procurement are one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) or less, or where the maximum financial contribution from the commission is fifty percent (50%) of project costs or twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000), whichever is less.

Projects eligible for SWPP grant funding assistance include the construction or rehabilitation of small reservoirs, wells, pipelines and conveyance facilities, springs, solar platforms, irrigation works, windmills and wetland developments. Planning for small water projects will be generated by a WWDC watershed study or equivalent as determined by the WWDO. A watershed study will incorporate, at a minimum, available technical information describing conditions and assessments of the watershed including hydrology, geology, geomorphology, geography, soils, vegetation, water conveyance infrastructure, and stream system data. A plan outlining the site specific activities that may remediate existing impairments or address opportunities beneficial to the watershed shall also be included.

It is the intention of WWDC to work closely with the land management agencies and the sponsoring entities in the administration of this program. This additional source of grant funding will help develop a partnership where local, state, and Federal agencies can work together for the benefit of the people of Wyoming.



Contact:    Bob Budd    856-4665

The Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, created in 2005, is an independent state agency governed by a nine-member citizen board appointed by the Governor. Funded by interest earned on a permanent account, donations, and legislative appropriation, the purpose of the program is to enhance and conserve wildlife habitat and natural resource values throughout the state. Any project designed to improve wildlife habitat or natural resource values is eligible for funding. The office is centrally located in Riverton, Wyoming.

Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust funding is available for a wide variety of projects throughout the state, including natural resource programs of other agencies. Some examples include the following:

  • Projects that improve or maintain existing terrestrial habitat necessary to maintain optimum wildlife populations may include grassland restoration, changes in management, prescribed fire, or treatment of invasive plants.
  • Preservation of open space by purchase or acquisition of development rights, contractual obligations, or other means of maintaining open space.
  • Improvement and maintenance of aquatic habitats, including wetland creation or enhancement, stream restoration, water management or other methods.
  • Acquisition of terrestrial or aquatic habitat when existing habitat is determined crucial/critical, or is present in minimal amounts, and acquisition presents the necessary factor in attaining or preserving desired wildlife or fish population levels.
  • Mitigation of impacts detrimental to wildlife habitat, the environment and the multiple use of renewable natural resources, or mitigation of conflicts and reduction of potential for disease transmission between wildlife and domestic livestock.

It is the goal of the Board to assist all applicants in the process of enhancing wildlife and natural resources in Wyoming. Please feel free to contact the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust at any time as follows:

Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust
500 East Fremont
Riverton, Wyoming 82501
307-856-4665 (office)
307-349-5387 (cell)
307-856-1192 (fax)




Contact:    Rick Schuler    775-6092

BLM’s Riparian Habitat Management Program offers the opportunity to coordinate with outside interests on riparian improvement projects. The goal of BLM’s riparian-wetland management is to maintain, restore, improve, protect, and expand these areas so they are in proper functioning condition for their productivity, biological diversity, and sustainability. The overall objective is to achieve an advanced ecological status, except where resource management objectives, including proper functioning condition, would require an earlier successional stage. The goal includes aggressive riparian-wetland information, inventory, training, and research programs as well as improving the partnerships and cooperative management processes.

Partnerships have been available for riparian improvement projects and for research into riparian issues. Funding is available on an annual basis subject to budget allocations from Congress. All submitted cooperative projects compete for the funds available in the riparian program. For information on the riparian habitat program within BLM, please contact Mark Gorges (307) 775-6100.

Range Improvement Planning and Development is a cooperative effort not only with the livestock operator but also with other outside interests including the various environmental/conservation groups. Water development, whether it be for better livestock distribution or improved wetland habitats for wildlife, is key to healthy rangelands and biodiversity. Before actual range improvement development occurs, an approved management plan must be in place. These plans outline a management strategy for an area and identify the type of range improvements needed to accommodate that management. Examples of these plans are Coordinated Resource Plans, Allotment Management Plans, and Wildlife Habitat Management Plans.

All rangeland improvement projects on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management require the execution of a Permit. Although there are a couple of methods for authorizing range improvements on the public lands, Cooperative Agreement for Range Improvements form 41206 is the method most commonly used. This applies equally to range improvement projects involving water such as reservoirs, pits, springs, and wells including any associated pipelines for distribution. The major funding source for the Bureau of Land Management's share comes from our range improvement fund which is generated from the grazing fees collected. There, too, is a limited amount of funding from the general rangeland management appropriations. If the cooperator is a livestock operator, their contributions come generally in the form of labor. There are times they also provide some of the material costs as well. Contributions from the conservation/environmental interests is monetary and often come in the form of grants. They also contribute labor on occasion. For information on the range improvement program within BLM, please contact Jim Cagney (307) 775-6194.

BLM’s Watershed and Water Quality Improvement efforts are undertaken in a cooperative approach with the State of Wyoming, Conservation Districts, livestock operators and various conservation groups. Wyoming’s BLM is partnering in the implementation of several Section 319 watershed plans state-wide.

It is anticipated that as the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) continues the inventory of waters of the State and the identification of Impaired and/or Threatened water bodies, BLM will be partnering with the WDEQ to improve water quality in water bodies on Public Lands. In the course of developing watershed plans or TMDL’s for these watersheds, BLM will be routinely involved in watershed health assessments, planning, project implementation and Best Management Practice (BMP) monitoring.

Now, and in the future, the goals of cooperative watershed projects will typically be the restoration and maintenance of healthy watershed function. These goals will typically be accomplished through approved BMP’s, e.g. prescribe burns, vegetation treatments, instream structures, to enhance vegetation cover, control accelerated soil erosion, increase water infiltration and enhance stream flows and water quality.

Currently, in response to the Clean Water and Watershed Restoration initiative and associated funding increases, BLM is expanding its efforts to address water quality and environmental concerns associated with abandoned mines. This work will also be accomplished, in cooperation with the State Abandoned Mine Lands Division, on a priority watershed basis and will employ appropriate BMP’s to address identified acid mine drainage and runoff problems from mine tailings and waste rock piles.

For information on the watershed and water quality program within BLM, please contact Rick Schuler at (307) 775-6092.



Contact:    Matt Bilodeau    772-2300

The Army Corps of Engineers has civil responsibilities for flood damage reduction, hydroelectric power generation and navigational improvement as well as other water and land resource problems and needs including environmental preservation and enhancement, ecosystem management and comprehensive flood plain management. The Corps is responsible for a worldwide military construction program, an extensive environmental program and a broad national civil works program.

The Corps of Engineers is authorized to provide technical assistance to local communities, States and federally recognized Indian Tribes in support of their efforts to alleviate flooding impacts, reduce erosion and otherwise plan for the wise and prudent use of the nation’s water and related land resources. They also have authority to construct certain water resources related projects and respond to water resource needs.

Planning Assistance To States. This program provides for assistance in preparation of plans for the development, utilization and conservation of water and related land resources. The Corps provide technical planning assistance in all areas related to water resources development such as bank stabilization, sedimentation, water conservation, ecosystem and watershed planning and water quality. Assistance is limited to $500,000 per state and studies are cost-shared on a 50-50 basis with a non-federal sponsor such as a state, public entity or an Indian Tribe.

Flood Plain Management Services. This program provides technical services and planning guidance for support and promotion of effective flood plain management. Flood and flood plain data are developed and interpreted with assistance and guidance provided in the form of “Special Studies” on all aspects of flood plain management planning. All services are provided free of charge to local, regional, state or non-federal public agencies. Federal agencies and private entities have to cover 100% of costs.

Flood Damage Reduction Projects. This program provides structural and non-structural projects to reduce damages caused by flooding and focuses on solving local flood problems in urban areas, towns and villages. The Corps works with the project sponsor to define the flood problem, evaluate solutions, select a plan, develop the design and construct a project. A feasibility study is conducted to identify potential projects with the first $100,000 of the cost Federal. Any cost above this amount is cost-shared 50-50 with the sponsor in the form of cash and in-kind services. Construction lands, easements, rights-of-way, relocations and disposal and 5% of the projects costs are the sponsor’s responsibility. Operation and maintenance and a maximum of 50% of total project cost are the sponsor’s responsibility.

Project Modification For Improvement of Environment. The purpose of this program is to modify structures or operation of previously constructed water resources projects to improve environmental quality, especially fish and wildlife values. A study, at federal expense, is initiated followed by a feasibility plan that is cost-shared 25% by the sponsor.

Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration. This effort is for restoration of historic habitat conditions to benefit fish and wildlife resources. This is primarily to provide structural or operational changes to improve the environment such a river channel reconnection, wetland creation or improving water quality. Conditions are similar to the Project Modification program with sponsor cost-share being 35%.

Water Resources Projects. The purpose of this program is to construct larger projects for flood damage reduction and to provide technical assistance in resolving more complex water resource problems. It is used to evaluate projects costing more than $10 million that include purposes of flood control, water supplies, water quality, environmental protection and restoration, sedimentation or recreation. This would include reservoirs, diversions, levees, channels or flood plain parks as examples. The Corps works with a non-federal sponsor to define the flood or water resource related problem or opportunity, evaluate flood control or solutions, select a plan, develop a design and construct a project. This requires special authorization and funding from Congress with a reconnaissance study being federal cost. A feasibility study to establish solutions is cost-shared 50% by the non-federal sponsor with 35 to 50% of construction cost the responsibility of the sponsor.

Support For Others Program. This program provides for environmental protection and restoration or facilities and infrastructure. This includes Environmental Planning and Compliance, Economic and Financial Analyses, Flood Plain Management, Cultural Resources and General Planning. All costs for these programs are provided by the customer agency.

Regulatory Authority/Responsibility. The Corps of Engineers has regulatory authority under the Clean Water Act and the River and Harbor Act. The purpose of these laws is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of waters of the United States. Section 404 of the Clean Water Act authorizes the Corps to regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters. This would include dams and dikes, levees, riprap, bank stabilization and development fill. There are three kinds of permits issued by the Corps. They are Individual, Nationwide and Regional General permits.

Web site:


Contact:    Cherie Schoonover    233-6750

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides leadership in a partnership effort to help people voluntarily conserve, improve and sustain natural resources on private lands. The purpose and mission of the agency is to help landowners treat every acre of their private property according to its needs and within its capability. The treatment includes a balance between the land use for economic return and protecting its ability to be productive from generation to generation.

Conservation planning is key to successful land stewardship as NRCS employees and landowners work together to tailor-make voluntary conservation plans that meet the specific needs of individual customers. The NRCS workforce has the technical expertise and field experience to help land users solve their natural resource challenges and maintain and improve their ability to thrive economically. They are highly skilled in many scientific and technical specialties, including soil science, soil conservation, range conservation, engineering, agronomy, biology, geology, hydrology, forestry, cultural resources, Geographic Information Science (GIS) and economics. NRCS conducts natural resource inventories and assessments to indicate status, condition and trends of natural resources on private lands. This resource information and technology include science-based technical tools, technical guides and performance specifications and standards that assure quality and consistency of conservation planning and application across the nation.

Technical and cost-share assistance is available through NRCS. This assistance includes designs, specifications, construction and management and financial help for practice and system installation. Local people, individually and collectively, decide how to use NRCS capabilities in the natural resource conservation planning and application process. The role of NRCS is to support and facilitate these individual and local decisions based on good resource information, whether that's a grazing management plan or layout for an irrigation system.

NRCS provides technical assistance for the following programs in Wyoming:

  • Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) -- Accelerated range management technical assistance is available to producers in every county to support this initiative.
  • Small Watershed Program (PL-566) -- NRCS works through local government sponsors to help solve natural resource and related economic problems on specific watersheds.
  • Snow, Water and Climate Services -- Snow survey crews collect information on snowpack conditions to provide Wyoming water users with forecasts of seasonal water supplies. This helps determine available water to meet agricultural, industrial, recreational and urban area needs.
  • Soil Surveys – Soil surveys provide a field-based scientific inventory of soil resources and information on the potentials and limitations of each soil. This information assists in determining the best uses of the land based on soil type.
  • Plant Materials – Wyoming NRCS is serviced by the Plant Materials Center (PMC) at Bridger, Montana. The Plant Materials Program identifies, selects and releases superior performing plant collections for a variety of conservation uses.

NRCS administers the following 2009 Farm Bill programs:

  • Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) – Through EQIP, technical assistance, cost share and incentive payments are available to agricultural producers to implement conservation practices that improve water quality, enhance grazing lands, and/or increase water conservation.
  • Conservation Security Program (CSP) – CSP is available in selected watersheds across the nation. Two watersheds were authorized for Wyoming in 2005, the Lower Laramie and Upper Lodgepole watersheds in the southeast part of the state. The program is designed to reward farmers and ranchers who are implementing conservation on working lands and encourage them to do more.
  • Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program (WHIP) – Through WHIP, technical and financial assistance is provided to landowners and others to develop and improve wildlife habitat on private lands.
  • Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) – Eligible landowners may receive technical and financial assistance through the WRP to address wetland, wildlife habitat, soil, water and related natural resource concerns on private lands. Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) – This program emphasizes support for grazing operations, plant and animal biodiversity, and grassland and land containing shrubs and forbs under the greatest threat of conversion. Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) – FRPP is designed to help farmers and ranchers keep their land in agriculture. It provides matching funds to State, Tribal or local governments and non-governmental organizations with existing farm and ranch land protection programs to purchase conservation easements.
  • Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) – Wyoming’s five RC&D areas assist communities by promoting conservation, development and use of natural resources; improving the general level of economic activity; and enhancing the environment and standard of living for residents of those communities.

NRCS collaborates with many partners to provide the maximum technical assistance to people who work the land and to leverage the federal contributions to natural resource conservation on private lands. The state's 34 conservation districts take a special place in the partnership and the natural resource conservation delivery system. Units of local government, conservation districts operate on the premise that local people know the most about local natural resource needs. Conservation districts link NRCS to local communities and to local priorities for natural resource conservation.



Contact:    Cindy Hottel    261-5081

The Farm Service Agency is a member agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. Programs administered through the FSA are offered through local county committees. Technical assistance needed for implementation of FSA programs is provided through the Natural Resources Conservation Service. FSA programs available are the Conservation Reserve Program, the Continuous Sign-up for High Priority Conservation Practices and the Emergency Conservation Program.

Conservation Reserve Program (CRP): This program offers agricultural producers annual rental payments to remove highly erodible cropland from production. Farmers and ranchers establish long-term conservation practices on erodible and environmentally sensitive land. In exchange, they receive 10-15 years of annual rental payments and Cost share assistance. CRP is a voluntary program specifically for highly erodible lands currently in active production planted 2 of the 5 most recent crop years. Land offered for CRP is ranked according to environmental benefit for wildlife habitat, erosion control, water quality and air quality.

Continuous Sign-Up for High Priority Conservation Practices: Continuous sign-up provides management flexibility to farmers and ranchers to implement certain high-priority conservation practices on eligible land. Land must meet the requirements of CRP and be determined by the NRCS to be eligible and suitable for:

  • Riparian buffers
  • Filter strips
  • Grass waterways
  • Shelter belts
  • Field windbreaks
  • Living snow fences
  • Contour grass strips
  • Salt tolerant vegetation
  • Shallow water areas for wildlife

This is a cost share program that offers rental rates based on the average value of dryland cash rent with an additional financial incentive of up to 20% of the soil rental rate for field windbreaks, grass waterways, filterstrips and riparian buffers. An additional 10% may be added if the land is located in an EPA-designated wellhead protection area. There is also a provision for cost share of up to 50% of the cost of establishing permanent cover.

Emergency Conservation Program (ECP): ECP provides emergency funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters and for carrying out emergency water conservation measures for livestock during periods of severe drought.

Participants receive cost-share assistance of up to 75 percent of the cost to implement approved emergency conservation practices, as determined by county FSA committees.

Some of the conservation practices are:

  • Removing debris
  • Restoring fences and conservation structures
  • Providing water for livestock in drought situations.



Alana Cannon, Community Programs Director233-6700
Roy Prior, State Engineer 233-6721

The United States Department of Agriculture, Rural Development’s utilities program is authorized to provide financial assistance for water and waste disposal facilities in rural areas and towns of up to 10,000 people. This program is intended for Non-profit corporations and public bodies such as municipalities, counties, and special purpose districts and authorities. Priority is given to entities serving less than 5,500 people with preference given to small, low income communities.

Funding may be obtained through Rural Development only when the applicant is unable to secure funding from other sources at reasonable rates and terms. The applicant must have legal capacity to borrow and repay loans, to pledge security for loans and to operate and maintain the facilities. The applicant must be financially sound and able to manage the facility effectively as well as have a financially sound facility based upon taxes, assessments, revenues, fees or other satisfactory sources of income to pay costs of operating, debt service and reserve. Grants are also available and are used to supplement loans to reduce debt service where necessary to achieve reasonable user rates. Areas with median household incomes above $37,769 are not grant eligible. Assistance is also available on how to assemble information concerning engineering, financing and management of proposed improvements.

Loans and grants may be used to construct, repair, improve, expand or modify rural water supplies and distribution facilities such as reservoirs, pipelines, wells and pumping stations, waste collection, pumping, treatment or other disposal facilities. This assistance may also be used to acquire a water supply or water right or finance facilities in conjunction with funds from other agencies or those provided by the applicant. These funds can be used to pay legal and engineering fees connected with the development of a facility or pay other costs related to development including rights-of-way or easements and relocation of roads or utilities. Loan terms are a maximum of 40 years, State Statute, or the useful life, whichever is less with interest rates based on current market yields for municipal obligations.

USDA Rural Development also guarantees loans to eligible commercial lenders to improve, develop or finance water or waste disposal facilities in rural areas. This guarantee is a warrant to protect the lender and may cover up to 90% of the principal advanced. The guarantee fee is 1% of the loan amount multiplied by the percent of the guarantee. Interest rates will be negotiated between the lender and the borrower.

Websites: and


Contact:    John Lawson    261-5671

The Bureau of Reclamation’s mission emphasizes water conservation, recycling, reuse, development of partnerships with customers, states and tribes, bringing competing interests together to address needs, transferring title and operation of some facilities to local beneficiaries to enhance efficiency and achieving a higher level of fiscal responsibility to the taxpayer. This is all endeavored to meet the increasing water demands of the West while protecting the environment and the public’s investment.

Promoting water conservation and efficient water use is one of Reclamation’s priorities for addressing 21st century water challenges. Through Water for America, Reclamation administers the Challenge Grant Program and the Water Conservation Field Services Program (WCFSP). Through the Challenge Grant Program, Reclamation generally provides up to $300,000 in Federal funding per project, for projects that will improve water efficiency, demonstrate advanced water treatment technologies, and help to avoid the decline of candidate species. Challenge Grant funding is allocated through a west-wide competitive process that prioritizes projects that will address the most critical issues from a west-wide perspective.

The Water Conservation Field Services Program, by contrast, provides smaller amounts of funding ($100,000 per project maximum) through local competitions within a region or area.  The projects funded are generally smaller in scope than the Challenge Grant projects, and are focused on fundamental conservation improvements as identified in water conservation plans developed by water users. Financial assistance provided through the Challenge Grant Program and the WCFSP must be cost shared on at least a 50-50 basis between the recipient and Reclamation. Funding opportunity announcements for the Water for America Challenge Grant Program and the WCFSP can be found on the website.

Website: and


Contact:    Ron Graham    777-3368

A number of Federal laws direct or authorize watershed management on National Forest Service lands. Some of these laws provide broad authority while others deal more narrowly with specific watershed management activities.

The objectives of the Forest Service watershed management program are to protect and enhance soil productivity, water quality, water quantity and timing of water flows and to maintain favorable conditions of stream flow and continuous production of resources from National Forest System watersheds.

It is the policy of the Forest Service to implement watershed management activities on National Forest System lands in accordance with general objectives of multiple use and the specific objectives in the forest land management plans for the area involved. It is also the intent to design management activities of other resources to minimize short term impacts on soil and water resources and to maintain or enhance long term productivity, water quality and water quantity.

The Clean Water Action Plan provides broad water quality direction for the Forest Service. Specific direction for water quality is contained in the Land and Resource Management Plan for each National Forest. The forests in Wyoming are in the process of completing the Inland West Water Reconnaissance which will provide a classification of watersheds and stream reach conditions. Forest Service water quality programs are coordinated with Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and other appropriate agencies. The Forest Service also has a water rights program that is coordinated with the Wyoming State Engineer.

The Forest Service, in conjunction with other federal, state and local agencies, provides watershed management and condition training. T-WALK and Proper Functioning Condition surveys are field methods used to assess stream reach and other water body condition.

Forest Service OfficeContactPhone
Wyoming State Liaison 777-6087
Bighorn NF Dan Scaife 672-0751
Bridger-Teton NF Prevlyn Clark 739-5521
Medicine Bow/Routt NF Dave Gloss 326-2510
Shoshone NF Greg Bevenger 527-6241



Contact:    Mark Hogan    332-8719

Partners for Wildlife Habitat Restoration. This program provides technical and financial assistance directly to private landowners through voluntary cooperative agreements called Wildlife Extension Agreements (WEA). The program targets habitats that are in need of management, restoration or enhancement such as riparian areas, streams, wetlands and grassland. Under these Wildlife Extension Agreements, private landowners agree to maintain the restoration projects as specified in the agreement but otherwise retain full control of the land. Depending on the number of partners, the cost share may vary somewhat but is typically 75% partners and 25% landowner.

Wildlife Conservation and Appreciation Program. This program provides grants to state fish and wildlife agencies to fund projects that bring together USFWS, state agencies and private organizations and individuals. Projects include identification of significant problems that can adversely affect fish and wildlife and their habitats, actions to conserve species and their habitats, actions that will provide opportunities for the public to use and enjoy fish and wildlife through non-consumptive activities, monitoring of species and identification of significant habitats.

Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund. This program is available to states that have a cooperative agreement with the Secretary of Interior. The intent is to provide Federal assistance to any state to assist in the development of programs for the conservation of endangered and threatened species. Potential programs include animal, plant and habitat surveys, research, planning, management, land acquisition, protection and public education. Single states may receive up to 75% of program costs

North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grant Program. This grant program promotes longterm conservation of wetlands ecosystems and the waterfowl, migratory birds, fish and wildlife that depend upon such habitat. Conservation actions supported are acquisition, enhancement and restoration of wetlands and wetlands associated habitat. This program encourages voluntary, publicprivate partnerships. Public or private, profit or nonprofit entities or individuals establishing public/private sector partnerships are eligible. Costshare partners must at least match grant funds with non-federal monies.



Contact:    David Mott    778-2931

The Water Resources Discipline (WRD) of the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) provides hydrologic information and technical evaluations to appraise the quantity, quality, and movement of the Nation's surface-water and ground-water resources. Most of the water-resources investigations work in Wyoming is part of the Federal-State Cooperative Water Resources Program, in which the diversity of interests among Federal and Native-American governments and State and local agencies is accomplished through joint planning and funding. The USGS may provide some of the required funding for this program, and the remainder is provided by reimbursements from cooperating agencies. In Wyoming, the mission is accomplished by:

  • Data Collection – systematic collection of data needed for the continuing determination and evaluation of the quantity, quality, and use of the Nation's water resources.
  • Water Resource Appraisals – analytical and interpretive investigations describing the occurrence, availability, and physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of surface and ground water.
  • Publication – distributing data and results of investigations and research through reports, maps, computerized information services, and other forms of public releases.
  • Assistance – providing scientific and technical assistance in hydrologic fields to other Federal, State, and local agencies, to licensees of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and to international agencies on behalf of the U.S. Department of State.
  • Research – basic and problem-oriented research in hydraulics, hydrology, and related fields to improve the knowledge that forms the basis for investigations and measurement techniques.

In Wyoming, the USGS is the principal Federal agency for the collection of water-resources data. In cooperation with State and local agencies, the USGS operates and maintains Statewide networks of surface-water and ground-water monitoring sites. Data collected at the sites are processed by USGS personnel using nationally standardized techniques and are intended to meet Statewide and local needs, as well as to contribute to national water-resources data bases and data-synthesis efforts. All data are stored in computer files, and some of the data, with satellite or radio telemetry, are available shortly after they are collected. Most information is accessible to the public via the Internet or in published reports.

The assurance of high-quality water for domestic use, availability of water for agriculture, and the quantities needed for industrial and mining use are critical issues in Wyoming. Many of the activities of the USGS in Wyoming are directed at the numerous hydrologic, geologic, and biologic issues associated with water supply. Examples include quantifying of aquifer yields, simulating the hydrologic stress on aquifers and surface-water supplies, and documenting and projecting the changes in water quality. Tabulated data and interpretive results of Wyoming

District projects are published and are available online at the USGS Publications Warehouse ( and for purchase through the USGS Store. (, telephone: 888-275-8747 or email:

Congress appropriates funds for the USGS to conduct programs of special value to the Nation. An example is the National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP; The mission of NSIP is to provide the streamflow information and understanding required to meet local, State, regional, and national needs. Communication and coordination with local water-management officials and other water-resources agencies are key components of the program.

Through the Federal-State Cooperative Program, the USGS may provide some matching funds for data collection and studies for projects for Native-American governments, and State, and local agencies. Other Federal agencies (OFAs) enter into agreements with the USGS for data collection and hydrologic studies to assist in their missions of land management, regulation or compliance with regulations. Some matching funds may be available for other DOI agencies.

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