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<br /> <br />Report of the Executive Director by Deputy State Engineer Jack Byers – Mr. Byers reported on the following: <br /> <br />On a personal note, Mr. Byers informed the Commission that he will be retiring on July 7 of this year. He stated that he was glad of the opportunity to serve the citizens of the state, <br /> has the highest regard for his co-workers and was appreciative to have been affiliated with the Commission. He extended to the Commission members and invitation to his retirement party <br /> at on June 21st. <br /> <br />Mr. Byers reported that though April is the best month for judging, the snow pack across the state averages 130% of normal. He stated that we are currently experiencing good temperatures <br /> for the melt off but with forecast highs in the 80’s and 90’s next week there is concern for flooding. He reported that coordination and planning with other involved agencies is already <br /> underway for quick response and mitigation of potential extreme flooding in some areas of the state. Mr. Byers went on to say that the Front Range and Eastern Plains remain short of <br /> water for the year and are experiencing a high fire danger. <br /> <br />Commissioner Mikita questioned Mr. Byers on who to contact regarding cloud seeding and the effects of cloud seeding on the lack of moisture along the Front Range and Eastern Plains. <br /> Mr. Byers stated that the CWCB is in charge of cloud seeding and that he believes they discontinued the program early this year due to the high snow fall. He also said that the seeding <br /> program does not have much of an impact on the precipitation east of the mountains because of different weather patterns. Specifically the mountains receive Pacific moisture and the <br /> plains receive their moisture from the gulf. <br /> <br />Mr. Byers reported on the Department of Natural Resources Retreat where the budget was discussed. He stated that as with other Divisions, the Division of Water Resources is concerned <br /> with the high cost of fuel and expects an increase in the mileage allotment next year. He also said that the Division of Water Resources is short staffed and is concerned with the <br /> loss of expertise as senior staff retire. <br /> <br />Commissioner Loose expressed his appreciation for the actions of the Division of Water Resources and its actions to ease augmentation requirements on the South Platte River. <br /> <br />Commissioner Davis voiced the Department’s regret at the impending retirement of Mr. Byers. <br /> <br /> <br />Hearing on request of the Republican River Water Conservation District for a variance to Rule 7.3, involving applications for Republican River Compact Compliance Wells, to allow the <br /> relocation of 44 permits over 300 feet to 8 existing well locations: <br /> <br />Commissioners Bledsoe and Coryell recused themselves from this matter. <br /> <br />Chairman Smith called the hearing to order. Mr. Pat Kowaleski of the Attorney General’s Office was conflicts counsel. The following persons provided testimony before the Commission: <br /> <br />Dennis Montgomery, legal counsel for the District introduced board members and staff present as well as the consultants working for the District. He summarized the February 20, 2008 <br /> letter requesting the variance, explained what wells will be used and how as well as summarizing the history of the district. <br /> <br />Commission Shriver asked to be shown the location of the river in relation to the pipeline. <br /> <br />Commissioner Mikita asked during what period of the year the wells would be pumped and how the pumping would affect irrigators. Mr. Montgomery stated that they are uncertain as to the <br /> pumping period but that it would most likely be during the irrigation season and into November. He said that irrigators would not be impacted because of the well locations and the <br /> fact that they will be pumping less than if the wells were used for irrigation. He stated that agreements have been reached with neighboring well owners regarding the operation of <br /> the system. <br /> <br />Commissioner Jaeger asked about the effects on recharge. Mr. Montgomery responded that because the wells would be operated during the normal irrigation season there would be no affect <br /> on recharge. He also stated that there would be a net benefit to the aquifer because the wells in the system would be pumping less water then historically done. <br /> <br />Keith Vander Horst gave staff’s recommendation for approval of the variance request. <br />After limited discussion of the Commission, Commissioner Shriver moved to approve the request. Commissioner Huwa seconded the motion which carried unanimously. Thereupon Commissioner <br /> Clever moved to close the hearing. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Mikita and carried unanimously. <br /> <br /> <br />Hearing on the request of the USDA-ARS Central Great Plains Research Station for a Variance to Rules 7.4 and 7.5, to allow applications for a change in description of irrigated acres <br /> for three permits (allowing them to irrigate 40 acres anywhere within a 260 acre area) to be evaluated under the standards of a change in description of acres of Rule 7.4 rather than <br /> under the standards of rotational acres of Rule 7.5. <br /> <br />Chairman Smith called the hearing to order. Mr. Pat Kowaleski of the Attorney General’s Office was conflicts counsel. The following persons provided testimony before the Commission: <br /> <br />Joel Schneckloth with the research station provided a power point presentation on the history and operation of the research center. He concluded with an explanation regarding the operational <br /> need for this variance. <br /> <br />Keith Vander Horst stated that staff is in favor of the variance if there is a condition requiring the research center to provide a description of the lands to be irrigated each year. <br /> <br />Commissioner Loose indicated that he had visited the site and was impressed with the operation. He made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Jaeger seconded the motion which <br /> carried unanimously. <br /> <br />Mr. Birdsall Young was not present to present his request before the Commission to amend the irrigated acres allocation on permit no. 20172-FP. <br /> <br />Staff Report by Keith Vander Horst - Mr. Vander Horst presented the Staff Activity Report for the last quarter, the written report of which was included in the Commissioners’ packets. <br /> He reported on the small capacity and large capacity well permit applications, change applications, final permitting activities, objections/hearings, and enforcement actions. He stated <br /> that the increase in applications for Basins Determinations is due to the owners of small parcels reacting to the news media rather than planning on developing their land. The petition <br /> to amend the boundaries of the Kiowa-Bijou Designated Basin has been scheduled for hearing the first week of August, there is no update on the rule making for the Republican River compact <br /> compliance wells. The Pioneer hearing will occur in Wray during the first three weeks of June. Dick Wolfe is spear heading the mediation process to settle the case before then. Mr. <br /> Vander Horst up-dated the Commission on staff activity/assignments: he introduced Justina Mickelson who is working on determinations, Melissa Peterson is now working determinations <br /> and subdivisions, leading to a reduction in the final permits from Kiowa-Bijou, Chris Grimes and Dave Keeler continue to work on violations in the Northern High Plains, Sarah Reinsel <br /> has moved to a team outside of Basins and Rick Nielsen is taking over the secretarial duties of the Commission. <br /> <br />Mike Shimmin, speaking on behalf of the management districts, expressed appreciation for the efforts of Mr. Wolfe to settle the Pioneer case. <br /> <br />Report of the Attorney General by Devin Odell – Mr. Odell stated that a complete report that provides a summary of the matters that the Attorney General’s Office has been involved in <br /> is included in the packets. He also reported that three fairly significant hearings are schedule for March, April and June. Mr. Odell reported that the Hearing Officer agreed with <br /> staff in a matter regarding a small capacity well and Schramm Feedlot. He reported that the Cherokee matter may return to the Commission if a motion to dismiss the District Court case <br /> is granted. Regarding the enforcement action in District Court against William Cure, a settlement has been reached and Mr. Cure has paid the $56,455.50 in penalties. Mr. Odell stated <br /> that he is working on numerous objections to final permits in Kiowa-Bijou basin and that he is busy preparing for the Pioneer hearing in June. <br /> <br />Management District and Conservation District Reports - Chairman Smith called for the Management District reports. <br /> <br />Mr. Nate Midcap, manager from the Frenchman, Sandhills, Marks Butte and Central Yuma Ground Water Management Districts, thanked the Commission for the forum to express concerns of irrigators <br /> in his districts. Mr. Midcap reported that the weather has been cool and late moisture has slowed corn planting. He stated that he has conducted inspections on 700 chemigation systems. <br /> He went on to say that the members of his districts are concerned about compact compliance, and the Pioneer litigation, the subject for which several of his board members are attending <br /> meetings in Kansas as he speaks. Mr. Midcap reported that the Central Yuma District Board is concerned about the pace of the proposed measurement rules and that they would like to <br /> see some action. The Sandhills District Board will be holding two hearings this month. One is to decide on increasing the annual appropriation for small capacity commercial permits. <br /> The other is regarding the request by the Republican River Conservation District to export water outside of the district boundaries. <br /> <br />Mr. Jack Dowell, from the W-Y Ground Water Management District, reported that he has been busy working on the mediation with the Pioneer litigation and that he hopes to begin his chemigation <br /> inspections on Monday. He expressed the thanks of the District Board for the lead of Mr. Wolfe in the mediation process. He concluded by reporting that due to the dry weather the <br /> wheat has a brown caste to it. <br /> <br />Ms. Deb Daniel, manager from the Plains and East Cheyenne Management Districts reported that due minimal moisture this year, 1.92” in the Plains District and 1.22” in the East Cheyenne <br /> District, the pasture is brown and the wheat is gone in the Cheyenne district. She thanked staff, Michael Schaubs, for his prompt response to her request for maps of water levels in <br /> her districts. Unfortunately the maps showed drops in the water table from 1 to 15 feet and that with only 70 or 80 feet of water in the wells they need to concentrate on conservation <br /> measures. She stated that members of her districts are concerned about compliance on the Republican River and the Pioneer litigation. Ms. Daniels said that in the coming weeks she <br /> will attend classes to receive training and certification in the proper inspection of chemigation systems and well testing. She concluded by expressing thanks and appreciation to staff <br /> and the Commission. <br /> <br /> <br />Mr. Max Smith reported for the Southern High Plains Ground Water Management District and stated that their area has been dry and windy. <br /> <br />Commissioner Loose reported for the North Kiowa-Bijou Ground Water Management District expressing their appreciation to Chris Grimes for his work on violations and stated that it has <br /> been windy. <br /> <br />There were no reports from the Arikaree, Upper Black Squirrel Creek, Upper Big Sandy or from the Lost Creek Ground Water Management Districts. <br /> <br />Mr. Stan Murphy, from the Republican River Water Conservation District, thanked the Commission for their approval of the variance request. He reported that the District was in negotiations <br /> to lease the water in the Pioneer and Laird Ditches in an effort to halt the litigation proceedings. Mr. Murphy advised the Commission that the new, and early, deadline for enrollment <br /> in the NRCS EQUIP Program is July 1st. He also reported that the District Board has reduced the compensation rate for wells greater than three (3) miles from the river and has ceased <br /> funding for the temporary retirement of crop lands. Mr. Murphy reported that as for the CREP program there remain over 8,000 acres available for enrollment in the program and that <br /> for this reason the District has modified the qualifying boundaries. The Board continues to wait for approval of the second CREP program. He stated that planning and design of the <br /> pipeline progresses well. They anticipate County Planning Commission approval in the next thirty (30) days with County Commissioner approval in the next sixty (60) days. <br /> <br />Old Business – None <br /> <br />New Business – <br /> <br />Andy Jones, representing the Lost Creek Ground Water Management District presented a proposal to amend the Commission Rules as they relate to permitting wells to allow the exportation <br /> of water outside of district boundaries. After discussion with staff and the Commission it was determined that the official request will be presented at the August meeting and follow <br /> normal procedures from that point. <br /> <br />Chairman Smith then asked Marta Ahrens to approach the Commission whereupon he presented her with a plaque acknowledging and thanking her for her dedicated service to the Commission <br /> and read the following resolution into the record: <br />