Gibbs To Represent Johnson County At Lake DeSmet Talks

Johnson County Commissioner John Gibbs
Johnson County Commissioner John Gibbs

The three representatives for the upcoming talks between the counties and the LDCC on water rights at Lake DeSmet have now been chosen.

The Lake DeSmet Counties Coalition (LDCC) chose Dave Garber at last week's meeting, Sheridan County's Commissioners chose Mike Nickel to represent their county Monday morning, and Johnson County followed by appointing John Gibbs as their representative Monday morning as well.

In a special meeting, Johnson County's Commissioners said Gibbs has been in talks with Nickel and others anyway and has a working understanding of the issues and felt it was better to allow him to continue in these new rounds of talks.

Gibbs did ask for permission from the commission for help from Jim Hicks to better understand the complex water rights issues and how the state, from the standpoint of the Wyoming Water Development Commission among others, may view the issues surrounding the lake.

Gibbs also asked permission to approach HKM Engineering, who has done extensive modeling of the water rights and other studies at the lake, so he can gather information he may need from those studies for the talks.

The commission granted both requests.

Commission Chair Smokey Wildeman also told the commission that he has formally asked County Attorney Ken DeCock for his approval for the county to seek outside legal counsel. The county would like to hire counsel that has more experience in these matters, as Sheridan County's Commissioners have done. Wildeman said as of the meeting, he has heard nothing back from DeCock.

The first meeting between the three entities' representatives will be this Thursday at the LDCC offices in Sheridan and will be closed to the public, but future public meetings are to be scheduled soon.

The “deadline” for the issue is November 14 and 15 at the next Game And Fish meetings in Rock Springs.

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