January 11, 2023 |
The first of three public meetings to be held this week on a possible land swap between the State of Wyoming and the U.S. Forest Service to facilitate a proposed reservoir on Battle Pass took place in Craig, Colorado.
A second meeting will be held in Baggs tonight and another in Saratoga Wednesday night. The meetings are prompted by a proposed Environmental Impact Statement for the West Fork Battle Creek Project Reservoir project.
The broad scope of the state-and-federal exchange involves about 1,762 acres of USFS-managed lands with up to 4,400 acres managed by the State of Wyoming. The larger NRCS-led project includes building the reservoir on lands currently managed by USFS.
The proposed 10,000 acre-fee reservoir would serve about 100 late season irrigators on either side of the Wyoming-Colorado state line along Little Snake River Valley.
Last night’s meeting was the only one scheduled to be streamed live. Representing the State were Jason Mead of the Wyoming Water development Office and Jason Crowder, Deputy Director of State Lands and Investments.
When asked how grazing leases and easements held by affected private ranches would be affected if the transaction is finalized, Crowder said the process is still in the beginning stages and many details have not yet been analyzed.
The Natural Resource Conservation Service Wyoming State Office is the lead federal agency for environmental analysis of the reservoir project. The NRCS is hosting the meetings. Shawn Follum with the NRCS said although the proposed land swap is only at the feasibility stage now and few details are available, concerned citizens should submit comments now so they are eligible to offer comments later in the process. When asked if the reservoir could be built if the land swap is not finalized, Follum suggested it might be less likely.
The Forest Service presented maps and other information at last night’s meeting showing the parcels involved with the swap, the location of the reservoir, boat ramp and access road.
Tonight’s meeting in Baggs will be held at the Valley Community Center beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Saratoga meeting will be held at the Platte Valley Community Center on Thursday starting at 5:30 p.m.
January 11, 2023 |