News & Press Releases
November 10, 2021
Public Notice: Colorado River Working Group Work Day, December 8, 2021
Notice November 10, 2021
The Colorado River Working Group will have a Work Day that is open to the public. Objectives identified by participating members as priorities to their related stakeholder groups are guiding the agenda that will be released at a future date. We ask public listeners to RSVP to the email below because lunch will be provided. Please note the in-clement weather date. Please check for updates in the event of inclement weather.
If there are priorities as a water user and member of the public you would like to see addressed please visit the Colorado River Working Group webpage. On the webpage you will find the Water Cooler designed to anonymously offer public and user opinion, concerns, questions, resources, etc…. This webpage also has links to many valuable resources designed to offer fact based publications to answer important questions.
November 1, 2021
Steve Wolff, Longtime Interstate Streams Administrator, Presented 2021 Wyoming Distinguished Service Award
Steve Wolff Presented 2021 Wyoming Distinguished Service Award
Steve Wolff has been awarded the 2021 Upper Missouri Water Association Distinguished Service Award for the state of Wyoming. The award is presented annually to a person or group from each of the four states within the association: North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming. Award winners are recognized for their distinguished service in the field of water resource development and a quality environment.
Steve Wolff worked for the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office for 16 years, six of those as Interstate Streams Administrator. As administrator, Wolff and a staff of three employees oversaw seven interstate compacts and three court decrees. He also chaired the Upper Colorado River Commission’s Engineering Committee and the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program’s Management Committee and served on numerous other committees. Wolff’s involvement in water earned him the title “Face of Wyoming Water”. His diplomatic manner and executive leadership within his team was appreciated and admired by all in the agency. Wolff was a wonderful example of learning and being well-versed in Wyoming water law and how it affects the larger picture of the state. He seemed to never be discouraged by tough meetings or heated debates and was always willing to expand his knowledge to help represent the state’s needs. The Upper Missouri Water Association is proud to recognize him for his outstanding service to the state of Wyoming.
The Upper Missouri Water Association is a nonprofit regional water organization including the states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. The mission of the Upper Missouri Water Association (UMWA) is to protect, develop and manage Upper Missouri water.
LARAMIE COUNTY GROUNDWATER CONTROL AREA ADVISORY BOARD MEETING
July 16, 2021
Consistent with the Drought Response Operations Agreement signed in 2019, the drought contingency operations involve increased releases from select federal reservoirs- Flaming Gorge, Blue Mesa and Navajo- to occur between July and December 2021. Further details are available in Reclamation's July 16 press release.
June 17, 2021
With very dry conditions in some parts of Wyoming, I am authorizing emergency measure regarding changes in points of use for stock water only, extending through the calendar year 2021 only. This applies to surface water and groundwater sources.
April 22, 2021
The following petitions have been received by the State Engineer and under the provisions of the Wyoming Administrative Procedure Act, Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 16-3-107 notice is hereby given. Upon conclusion of advertising and public comment, the petitions will be considered by the Laramie County Control Area Advisory Board for their recommendation.
NEW TEST SITE: GROUNDWATER PRODUCTION DATA
POSTPONED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE
Due to public health concerns over the spread of COVID-19, the scheduled public hearing regarding the May 31, 2017 First Amended order of the State Engineer - Horse Creek Basin, on March 24, 2020, from 1:00 to 4:00 P.M. in the LaGrange Community Center at the Fairgrounds has been postponed. The hearing will be rescheduled at a later date. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
State Engineer's Office to Host Public Hearing - Laramie County Control Area
State Engineer Greg Lanning will solicit comments on the 2015 Laramie County Control Area (LCCA) Order at a public hearing to be held March 4, 2020 in Room 108 of the Clay Pathfinder Building on the Laramie County Community College Campus from 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M.
Responding to mounting concerns over increasing development and use of groundwater resources in the LCCA, former State Engineer Patrick Tyrrell issued an order on April 1, 2015 guiding groundwater development within the LCCA.
The 2015 Order identified four distinct areas within the LCCA characterized by varying hydrogeologic conditions and levels of development; the “Drawdown Area,” the “Conservation Area,” the “Unaffected Area,” and “Underlying Units.” In all but the “Unaffected Area,” which is largely north of Horse Creek, the order set forth well spacing requirements for all new wells.
The Order also requires meters for all wells except for stock and domestic uses, and metered amounts must be reported to the State Engineer’s Office annually. Meters had to be installed prior to use in Water Year 2017.
The State Engineer’s Office has been reviewing the effects of the Order since November 2019.
State Engineer Greg Lanning will solicit comments on the 2015 Order at the public hearing and for 30 days after the hearing. After receiving comments, the State Engineer will then determine whether or not the terms of the 2015 Order shall continue to apply or whether a new order should be issued. If no new order is issued by April 1, 2020, the terms of the 2015 Order will continue in force, for consecutive three year periods until a new order is issued.
The 2015 Order will remain effective until rescinded, superseded, or modified by another order of the State Engineer, or replaced by an appropriator agreement as envisioned in Wyoming Statute § 41-3-915(c) and approved by the State Engineer.
Colorado River Drought Contingency Planning
The seven Colorado River Basin States (including Wyoming), the Department of the Interior and water entitlement holders in the Lower Basin have been working diligently on a set of draft Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) agreements to respond to ongoing historic drought conditions and to reduce the likelihood of Colorado River reservoirs – particularly Lake Powell and Lake Mead – further declining to critical elevations. Negotiations on the DCP agreements are nearing completion. The DCP agreements include an Upper Colorado River Basin DCP and a Lower Colorado River Basin DCP.
State Engineer’s Office to Hold Public Meetings on Drought
State Engineer Pat Tyrrell will be discussing drought contingency planning efforts in the Colorado River Basin at three upcoming public meetings. The Colorado River is now experiencing its 19 th year of drought. Since 2013, officials in the seven Colorado River Basin states, the Department of Interior and the Republic of Mexico have been working on drought contingency plans. Plans in the Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada have been developed separately, but parallel to, plans developed in the Upper Basin states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. Plans in both basins are now nearing completion.
TEMPORARY OR “TIME LIMITED” GROUNDWATER PERMITS
BOARD OF CONTROL POLICY ON CUTOFF DATE FOR FILING PETITIONS
At their May 2018 meeting, the Board of Control adopted a policy extending the cutoff date for new petitions from 30 days prior to the start of the meeting to 45 days prior. This policy goes into effect for the November 2018 Board meeting. The petition cut-off dates for the remainder of 2018 are as follows:
PROCESS FOR REQUESTING ASSIGNMENT OF
As of July 10, 2017, 4,100 acre-feet (AF) of Bear River Original Compact Storage (OCS) is available for allocation to Wyoming water users in the Bear River Basin. Facilities that receive a storage permit from the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office indicating they have been awarded OCS under the terms of the 1958 Compact are exempt from storage restrictions when the elevation of Bear Lake (located in Utah – Idaho) drops below a surface elevation of 5,911 feet. Appropriators who receive a storage right other than OCS may be regulated off when Bear Lake drops below elevation 5,911 feet.
MEETING OF THE WYOMING STATE BOARD OF CONTROL
STATE ENGINEER MODIFIES 2013 ORDER CONTAINING CORRECTIVE CONTROLS
Following data collection and review, a public hearing, and receipt of public comment, State Engineer Pat Tyrrell issued an order today that will modify groundwater use limitations for the next three years in the LaGrange area. The First Amended Order modifies the terms of an Order issued on July 19, 2013, in accordance with the terms of that previous Order.
First Amended order of the State Engineer Horse Creek Basin (May 31, 2017)
Open Letter - Horse creek Order (Signed May 31, 2017)
Horse Creek Clarification (April 24, 2017)
Submit Water Data Electronically
Wyoming and the Colorado River
When the Wyoming Water Development Commission and members of the Select Water Committee of the Wyoming Legislature raised questions related to our rights and abilities regarding the Colorado River in late 2015, it was fitting that this office step up and offer to create a document to address the issue of Wyoming’s role in the management of the Colorado River. That document can be found at the link below. It is my sincere hope that having this Law of the River summary, and its Wyoming effects, distilled down to essential components and hopefully written for a wide audience, will be helpful as these and other groups and individuals forge Wyoming’s future in the basin.
Montana Cancels Tongue River Reservoir Call
On April 19, 2016, the State of Montana made a call under the Yellowstone River Compact to fill Tongue River Reservoir. That call applied to Wyoming water rights with a priority date later than January 1, 1950. Since Montana made its call, the Wyoming
On April 10, 2015, the State of Montana made a call under the Yellowstone River Compact to fill Tongue River Reservoir. That call applied to Wyoming water rights with a priority date later than January 1, 1950. Since Montana made its call, the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office has communicated with Tongue River Basin water users, monitored water use in Wyoming, and curtailed water use by post-1950 water rights. On May 21, 2015, Montana cancelled its call. Accordingly, any water user in Wyoming’s Tongue River Basin may use water in accordance with the user’s water right until or unless otherwise regulated or notified by a Wyoming Water Hydrographer/Commissioner.
State Engineer Orders Corrective Control in the Laramie County Control Area
LCCA Map Download (PDF)
LCCA Map Download (JPG)
Final Report: Hydrogeologic study of the Laramie County Control Area, March 2014 (Corrected and Stamped, July 2014)
Guidance: Water Meter Selection Specifications and Water Production Reporting (Added January 8, 2016)
Required Meter Installation and Water Production Reporting (Added November 1, 2016)
Required Adjudication, Meter installation, and Water Production Reporting (Added November 1, 2016)
Big Horn Symposium
For those interested in live streaming of the Big Horn Symposium being held in Riverton on September 11th and 12th, 2014, please click the following links.
Statement of Completion and Description of Well or Spring (U.W. 6 Forms)
CONVERTING COAL BED METHANE WELLS TO DOMESTIC AND/OR STOCK WELLS
Coal bed methane wells are wells drilled into a coal seam to capture and produce gas. The process includes pumping water to the surface to release the gas. As gas production subsides the wells are either reclaimed, or in some cases can be converted for use as a water source. Although coal bed methane wells are scattered throughout the state, the majority of wells are in northeast Wyoming.
GROUNDWATER MONITORING WELLS NO LONGER REQUIRE PERMITS
The State Engineer rescinded the January 4, 2005, "Policy Memo: Permitting Requirements for Groundwater Monitoring Wells", effective March 12, 2013. The Ground Water Division will no longer require permits for monitoring wells - regardless of the casing size. The Water Well Minimum Construction Standards (Chapter 2, Section 2 (ww)), defines a monitoring well as, "A groundwater level observation well or a well from which water samples are retrieved for water chemistry analysis." Therefore, there is no production of water for beneficial use and a monitoring well will not require a permit.
November 1, 2021