From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 1 - April 3, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Commission boosts range program

by Cat Urbigkit

Ranchers and land managers from throughout Sublette County converged on Tuesday's Sublette County Commission meeting to gain support for a voluntary, scientific program for the monitoring of federal grazing allotments.

The program has been proposed to Interior Secretary Gale Norton as a pilot project.

"It gives us a way to document our stewardship," Joel Bousman told the commission.

The program would expand the existing monitoring program taking place on the Silver Creek national forest allotments, to Bureau of Land Management allotments held by the same permittees in the East Fork watershed. A half-dozen allotments, with a total of about 90,000 acres, would be included in the pilot project, with the estimated cost about $2 per acre for the soil survey and ecological site inventory. Getting this technical information completed at the outset would clear the way for the voluntary, long-term monitoring work that is a partnership between ranchers, land managers and technical specialists.

Bousman, as spokesman for the group, asked the commission to take two actions: to sign off on the concept and to provide a cost-share for the program.

Commissioner Bill Cramer proposed the county support the program by providing one-third of the cost, up to a maximum of $60,000, which Commissioner Betty Fear seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Bousman is now set to meet with BLM Director Kathleen Clarke next week, with multi-agency support in hand from local, county, state and federal entities.

In other business, the commission appointed County Sanitarian Keith Raney for a four-year term. The commission also discussed the possibility of Raney working full-time for the county and agreed to further consider the issue at budget time.

Waste Management Supervisor Mike McGinnis told the commission that the road into the landfill needs some work and should also have some surfacing on it as well if the county is going to construct a balefill facility.

McGinnis said although he felt a Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality inspection in February had gone well, he received a three-and-a-half page letter from the agency, dated March 14, discussing problem areas with the landfill and the transfer station. McGinnis said corrective measures will be taken, and some of the issues involved include litter at the landfill and daily cover.

McGinnis issued a reminder of the April 1 landfill and transfer station summer hours: a 10-6 schedule, six days per week.

The commission asked McGinnis to begin providing the commission with copies of correspondence sent to landfill and transfer station users, such as a recent letter detailing what items the county was trying to keep out of the landfill waste stream.

"I realize you're running the outfit, but we're the ones paying the bills," Commission Chairman Gordon Johnston said.

McGinnis also spoke with the commission about the possibility of working with the county's two recycling groups in sponsoring a household hazardous waste collection event May 23-24. The program would allow for one day on each end of the county for citizens to bring their household hazardous waste to a central point to be disposed. The cost would be about $9,700, McGinnis said.

"Let's do it, let's give it a try," Johnston said.

Susan Kramer of Sublette Citizens for Recycling spoke with the commission about the need for an office and a bathroom for the recycling center. Kramer provided estimates for placing an addition on the building and creating the office and bathroom at a cost of $40,000 to $60,000. The commission said it would like to have a firm cost estimate to consider at its next meeting.

Joan Mitchell of Southwest Sublette County Pioneers talked with the commission about unforeseen expenses on the new building addition. From costs to heat and cover the ground for initial construction to a new sidewalk, ceiling fans, firewall and fire proofing of the building, the additional costs total about $19,000. The commission agreed to transfer funds to cover these costs for the addition project, which should be completed by May 1.

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