Lake DeSmet Conservation District introduces officials to conservation workWritten by Saige Albert
Buffalo – On Oct. 5, elected officials in Johnson County attended the Lake DeSmet Conservation District Annual Elected Officials Tour. The event provided opportunities for those in Johnson County to understand the work of the conservation district in Buffalo and the surrounding area.
“Every district in the state that gets money from the Wyoming Department of Agriculture has to prove that they’re a legitimate district, and this is how we do it,” says Amanda Hulet, district clerk. “Between 20 and 30 people attended our Elected Official’s tour, and we looked at three projects.”
The tour started with an overview of the district’s Russian Olive Removal Project.
“Zach Byram, our district manager, gave an overview on why we chose to concentrate on this area and why removal was important to the habitat in the area,” Hulet continues. “Todd Clatrider of the Wyoming Game and Fish Department also spoke about what these trees do for wildlife and looked at the pros and cons of having them.”
Hulet notes that Wyoming State Forestry’s Kelly Norris also looked at plans for the future.
“This project is an example of what the district does as a community enhancement project,” Hulet says, adding that it also demonstrates their focus on groups working together.
Moving to the Buffalo Golf Course, attendees explored a project by Snider Ditch Company, which has converted an open ditch to pipe.
“The project started as an open ditch that ran through neighborhoods and the golf course,” Hulet explains. “Most of the ditch has been put into pipe, except on the golf course.”
She adds, “They wanted to maintain the obstacles and aesthetic value of open water.”
The group toured the golf course, visiting the site where the pipe drops into a siphon at the course, through the development of the ditch, which flows into a pond and through the course.
“We also went to a neighborhood that had the ditch flowing through it,” Hulet notes. “The ditch was eight to 10 feet wide. It is now all in pipe, so residents have gained more yard and dry basements with this pipeline.”
“This was one of our cost-share programs,” Hulet adds.
Finally, the group toured the Bull Creek Land Exchange area.
“Will Rose of the Wyoming State Lands Trust gave us an update and backstory of the land exchange, and they also talked about what is projected for another exchange,” Hulet says, noting that they also heard about a projected reservoir site on the land.“It was quite informative.”
“Lake DeSmet Conservation District has provided support over the last few years to help study the watershed and determine what can be done to help improve late season irrigation,” Hulet says. “It is an example – rather large and political – of a sponsored project that we do.”
Overall, Hulet says that attendees enjoyed the day, taking the opportunity to network with one another and ask questions.
“We had stops geared to make sure that something was of interest to everyone on the tour,” Hulet comments. “It was a great day, and we are pleased with how well it went.”