From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 11 - June 13, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online


Fremont Lake spills
Although it was just a month ago when irrigators worried about the drought and water shortages with Fremont Lake so low, water commissioner John Dahlke of the Wyoming State Engineers Office reported that last Saturday, the lake completed filling and actually spilled. Dahlke said as of this week, all irrigators on Pine Creek are taking their legal, double water appropriation.

Courthouse work shut down again.
Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford said construction on the county courthouse complex was shut down by the state fire marshal last Wednesday.

"The state fire marshal has shut us down," she said.

Lankford said although the state has had the building plans since February or March, the state fire marshal has yet to complete its review of the plans. Until the review is complete, new construction has been suspended, although demolition can continue, Lankford said. She said although state officials had said the plan review should be complete by last Monday, Tuesday morning arrived with no word that work could commence again.

Dahlke resigns
Water commissioner John Dahlke of the Wyoming State Engineers Office confirmed Tuesday that he has turned in his 30-day notice of his resignation as a water commissioner. Dahlke has worked for the SEO for 10 years, five of those years here in Sublette County.

Dahlke is resigning his water post in order to dedicate full-time efforts to his business, Wyoming Wildlife Consultants, LLC.

The wildlife-consulting firm conducts wildlife survey work and is now expanding into handling wetland delineation and ranch habitat improvements, including waterfowl production areas.

Water law conference in Pinedale
The University of Wyoming will host a three-day conference in Pinedale in June called "Water Law and Administration: A case study on the ditch bank."

The conference will be held June 20 through 23 and continuing legal education and academic credit for students and teachers are offered.

The program begins Thursday evening, June 20, at the Museum of the Mountain Man with a free discussion of the "History and Policy Issues on the Colorado Headwaters," with a panel including Dan Budd, former Wyoming State Engineers Floyd Bishop and Jeff Fassett, attorney Kim Cannon and moderator Anne MacKinnon.

Friday's sessions include an introduction to Wyoming water law and changes. Topics covered under the day's program include prior appropriation doctrine; key tenets, including beneficial use and changes of use; water law contrasts; and instream flow. Saturday's program focuses on irrigation districts, and includes a field tour from Warren Bridge to east of Pinedale, while several panels of speakers guide topic-related discussions. Sunday, June 23, focuses on hydrology and riparian habitat.

The agenda for this interesting and educational conference is far too extensive to detail here. The registration fee is $55 for the entire three days. To pre-register by telephone, or to request more information, call Tom at the University of Wyoming at 1-877-733-3618, extension 2. Walk-ins at the conference are welcome as well.

Water conference in Rock Springs
A free public conference June 28-29 in Rock Springs that focuses on Wyoming's Green River - headwaters of the Colorado River - will draw speakers and panelists from Pinedale to Mexico. "Thinking Like a River: From Knapsack, Col. to the Sea of Cortez," will explore the history of water laws that have determined the rights to the water in the Green River and the Colorado River watershed. The conference, at Western Wyoming Community College, will look at the geographical, historical and technological forces that have shaped the realities of water in Wyoming and the West. The conference offers UW degree program credit. For more information, call the Office of Conferences and Institutes in the UW Outreach School at 1-877-733-3618, ext. 2 or (307) 766-5249.

Fire ban on state lands.
Governor Jim Geringer has decided to ban open fires and fireworks on lands administered by the State of Wyoming, according to an announcement from his office Tuesday.

Under the ban, the following are prohibited: open fires; fires in established fire rings; charcoal grills; the use of fireworks; smoking outside of vehicles; use of chainsaws or anything else that may produce a spark. As part of the fire restrictions, vehicles need to stay on established roads and park on barren areas that offer no chance of a catalytic converter igniting grass. At this time, State Parks will allow the use of gas or propane grills.

"Drought conditions throughout Wyoming are forcing the state to take a closer look at ways to prevent fires earlier this summer," Geringer said. "I have asked the Attorney General's Office and the State Fire Marshal's Office to investigate what authority the governor has to issue other restrictions if needed. I also will be working with federal land managers and county commissioners to determine what fire restrictions that they may issue."

"Right now and as a first measure, I am restricting open fires and fireworks on state lands, but those restrictions may need to be expanded in order to protect both public and private property," Geringer said. "Many of the recent high publicity fires have been in areas where private homes and property are located. We want to protect people's lives and private property to the best of our ability. I recognize that many people enjoy campfires, but the risk is too great with the extreme fire danger in these drought conditions. I encourage users to respect the severe dry conditions and use the utmost care on all public and private lands in order to prevent human-caused fires during the coming hot, dry months."

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