The Saratoga Sun -

Study participants needed


Anderson Consulting Engineers (ACE) is looking for participants in their Upper North Platte watershed study.

The project is sponsored by the Saratoga Rawlins Encampment Conservation District (SERCD) and funded by the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC).

According to Jay Schug, of ACE, the purpose of the study is “to complete a comprehensive evaluation of the watershed [and] develop a watershed management plan addressing issues identified [by the study].”

The study area encompasses about 3,150 square miles. Private lands account for 41 percent of the study area and 59 percent are publicly owned.

The main focus of the study will be an intensive geographic information systems (GIS) analysis of irrigation systems, stock ponds and stream channels. GIS is a computer based system for capturing, manipulating, analyzing and presenting spatial and geographic data.

Participation in this study is voluntary, and Schug said they are looking for as many private participants as possible due to the large number of landowners in the study area.

The irrigation system evaluation will include field inspection of a participant’s systems, evaluation of condition, stability and capacity, development of an operational schematic and identification of possible improvements.

Schug said one task that will be completed largely through analysis of aerial imagery is the identification of viable stock ponds. ACE will compare mapped stock ponds to aerial imagery to see what ponds are no longer holding water.

The study will also assess upland water supplies for stock and wildlife by collecting data on spring developments, stock reservoirs, wells and ditches.

The data collected and analyzed with GIS will eventually be given to the SERCD for their use in future management plans.

The goals for the watershed management plan include identifying needs and opportunities for improvement to irrigation, upland water sources, water storage, natural streams and grazing land. Schug said the study will evaluate and prioritize cost estimates, financing options, water rights and permitting issues and private and public landowner acceptance of the plan.

The use of GIS will allow the data to be presented in plans, maps and design that can be utilized in a variety of other software applications.

Schug said that one of the benefits of the GIS-based approach is scalability. The software allows the researcher to incorporate very small projects up to large projects. The idea is to be able to develop conceptual design and cost estimates for everything from the replacement of a single headgate up to redesigning and an entire irrigation system.

For more information on the project contact Schug at (970)226-0120 or


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