The Wyoming Game and Fish Department has finally signed the lease agreement between themselves and Johnson County for water rights in Lake DeSmet to protect the fishery and recreation there.
A number of minor issues over the last two years had set the signing of the agreement back a number of times, but this latest agreement was finally acceptable to all parties involved and was signed Wednesday morning during the Game and Fish Spring meetings in Casper.
Johnson County Commissioner Jim Hicks was at the meetings Wednesday and had this to say after they signed the
The agreement has the Game and Fish paying just under $3 million to Johnson County to lease the water in the lake for 99 years.
The Game and Fish will make those payments (about $600,000) per year) for five years, although Hicks thought there might be a double payment this year and then four payments due to the year-long negotiations on the lease agreement.
Johnson County will then pay off an outstanding $400,000 loan that was taken out for an improvements project on the south dike area of the reservoir.
Johnson County will also pay $100,000 per year to Sheridan County, to reimburse them for expenses they incurred while in the Lake DeSmet Counties Coalition.
Hicks said the lease is good news for fishermen, boaters and for Johnson County looking toward the future.
Johnson County is expecting their first payment from the Game and Fish in July of this year, and subsequent payments every July.