by Angus M. Thuermer Jr. |

Wyoming’s plans to impound more of its spring runoff advanced in the Bighorn Basin last week when residents voted to create an irrigation district to help fund a $32.5-million, 108-foot high dam.

Voters mulled whether to create the Nowood Watershed Improvement District around Hyattville northeast of Worland. On Aug. 18 they approved formation with 78 percent of the ballots. Owners of 71 percent of the acreage voted in favor. The successful election allows the project, which is planned on intermittent Alkali Creek, to advance to its next permitting phase.

The proposed dam is one of two major Big Horn County projects planned by the Wyoming Water Development Office. Developers also are on their way to securing permits for a 96-foot high, $39.8-million dam in the Shell Creek drainage east of Greybull.

That Upper Leavitt Reservoir enlargement would benefit irrigators along Shell and Beaver creeks. Supporters say both dams would aid ranchers in the critical late-summer growing season when natural flows dwindle but crops need to be brought to maturity.

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Irrigation system near Emerald, PEI by microbe, on Flickr
Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License   by  microbe 

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