At their monthly meeting Wednesday, the Sheridan Area Water Supply Joint Powers Board unanimously agreed to move forward with the Twin Lakes Wetlands Mitigation Project and authorized sending a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. SAWS attorney, Tony Wendtland, says the board has been working with the U.S. Forest Service on the Twin Lakes project, and by sending a letter to the corps of engineers, it could potentially take SAWS off the hook from being responsible for any future mitigation obligations.
Wendtland recommended the board not enter an agreement or pay $89,000 to improve the wetlands at the lakes until the corps of engineers guarantees SAWS will not be liable to pay for additional improvement efforts there.
And the board agreed with his assessment, unanimously agreeing to sign off on the agreement on the condition that the USFS signs the letter to the corps of engineers of releasing SAWS and the city from future obligations related to the project. Wendtland says the letter from SAWS with a signature on behalf of the forest service will be sent to the corps of engineers for review.
If the corps of engineers agrees, SAWS will authorize a payment of $67,000 and the city will pay $22,000. The permit for Twin Lakes would then, pending approval by the corps, transfer from SAWS to the city.
Wendtland says if takes until August or September for the corps of engineers to respond, the contract between SAWS and the USFS is set up so that work on the project will begin in the fall and it will still be on track for completion by next summer.