Presentation concerning proposed reservoir in southern Wyoming coming Jan. 10 to Craig

A couple canoes a remote stretch of the Little Snake River south of the Colorado-Wyoming border in Moffat County in spring 2022. More information will be offered and public comments accepted for the West Fork Battle Creek Reservoir Project during a public meeting Jan. 10 in Craig.
Eli Pace/Steamboat Pilot & Today

A reservoir project in southern Wyoming is moving forward with the National Resource Conservation Service planning a series of informational meetings regarding a proposed land swap.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the upcoming presentations will offer details about a proposed land exchange from the Wyoming Office of State Lands and Investments related to the reservoir project.

The first meeting is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 10 in Room 175 at Colorado Northwest Community College, 2801 W. Ninth St., in Craig. Subsequent presentations will be Jan. 11 in Baggs, Wyoming, and Jan. 12 in Saratoga, Wyoming.

Still very much a concept, the West Fork Battle Creek Reservoir project would build a 130-surface acre reservoir with water capacity of 10,000 acre-feet drawing from the Little Snake River Basin.

The project is being sponsored by two water conservancy districts — the Savery-Little Snake in Wyoming and the Pothook in Northwest Colorado — and Wyoming state officials have identified a site south of Wyoming Highway 70 in Carbon County as the preferred location for a new reservoir.

The Little Snake River is a tributary of the Yampa River, running from southwestern Wyoming into Northwest Colorado. Viewed as one of the Yampa River’s most important tributaries, the Little Snake flows west along the Wyoming-Colorado state line before it enters Moffat County and joins the Yampa east of Dinosaur National Monument.

A portion of the proposed reservoir would be on lands currently managed by the Medicine Bow National Forest and the Brush Creek/Hayden Ranger District. Altogether, the proposed land exchange would involve one 1,762-acre federally owned parcel and eight non-federal parcels totaling 4,520 acres.

The reservoir’s primary use would be for irrigation with ancillary benefits to recreation and watershed management, according to the Forest Service, which is working with the National Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Wyoming state agencies on a combined environmental impact statement for the land exchange, reservoir project and associated permits.

According to the Forest Service, it is important to note that the Forest Service has not yet determined if this is a feasible exchange, nor has the agency agreed to initiate it.

During the meetings, officials with the Forest Service say the agency’s role will be to present information on the preliminary land exchange proposal, share generally what the agency’s land exchange process involves and provide an opportunity for public input to inform a feasibility study.

For more about the proposed project, FS.USDA.Gov/Project/?project=63355.

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