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Natural Resources & Energy

Governor Gordon Addresses Need For Water Storage

A bathtub ring marks the high-water line on Nevada's Lake Mead, which is on the Colorado River, in 2013.
A bathtub ring marks the high-water line on Nevada's Lake Mead, which is on the Colorado River, in 2013.

Governor Mark Gordon said the Colorado River shortage focuses attention on water storage concerns in Wyoming.

During a question and answer session in Jackson, Gordon noted that the Bureau of Reclamation took water from the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Wyoming this summer and sent it to Lake Powell to keep it at critical levels for hydropower plants. He said climate conditions are concerning for the future of water runoff in the state and Wyoming needs to continue storage efforts.

"We've obviously seen drought, but we've seen diminished runoff. We've also seen much drier conditions throughout the West, which means if we do get a big snowpack, more of that is going to infiltrate than runoff," said Gordon. "So this is going to be a long way back and it's certainly one of the most important issues we face."

Gordon added that he spoke with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland recently about Wyoming's drought contingency plans to divert and store water from the Colorado River basin.

The governor also told the audience about work he's been doing with some other western governors on wildfire management. Gordon said the bipartisan group appears to be in agreement that a comprehensive forest management plan is needed to properly address forest fires.

That is more than 'We will fight fires when they start.' It is about 'What do we do about regeneration? What do we do about invasive species on the land? What do we do about making communities more fire-hardened?" Gordon said.

He added that he would also like to reduce lawsuits over forest management plans.

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