Monday, December 21, 2009

Otter Creek: Cautionary tale from Wyoming

Our family ranch, homesteaded in 1918, in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin was in two parcels. One consisted of Forest Service leases. When coal mining began we noticed loss of spring water. The Bureau of Land Management acknowledges that our ranch is in a “five feet drawdown area” around the mines. The springs and surface water have dropped five feet. In addition, Wyoming Geological Survey has monitored Powder River Basin wells and reports aquifers in virtually every well have gone down, some by over 600 feet. When mining began, officials informed us land would be restored better than it was before with “good grasses.” After 40 years we have not received one acre of restored ground and have never had a cow get a mouthful of “reclaimed grass.” more

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