Johnson County 'Hasn't Given Up' On Lake DeSmet Lease

Johnson County Commissioners
Johnson County Commissioners

At a press conference Tuesday afternoon the Johnson County Commissioners presented information on their most recent Resolution concerning the proposed lease between Johnson and Sheridan Counties and the Wyoming Game and Fish for water rights at Lake DeSmet.

Johnson County Commissioner John Gibbs has been working on different possible scenarios and felt these compromises and some proposed compromises on Sheridan County's part, could get a lease agreement done to everyone's satisfaction.

Details were available on the various Resolutions at the meeting, but essentially concerned the split of both senior and junior water rights between the counties and how splitting those rights could affect “firm yield" for all water rights holders in the lake.

It was hoped the proposals would at least spark conversations between the two counties to try to reach an agreement, “a place to start the discussions,” as Commissioner Delbert Eitel said.

Jim Hicks, who is running for the county commission, and who has extensive knowledge of water rights from his time on the Wyoming Water Development Commission, said he believes the newest resolution from Johnson County could be negotiated into a workable agreement between the counties, saying “I don't think there's anything here that can't be resolved.”

No decisions were made at the meeting, and Gibbs and Hicks were expected to present the proposal to the Sheridan County Commissioners for discussions and try to reach and agreement.

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