Johnson County To Address G&F Lease Concerns Wednesday

Johnson County To Address G&F Lease Concerns Wednesday
Johnson County To Address G&F Lease Concerns Wednesday

Johnson County will present their concerns and wishes concerning the proposed Game and Fish lease of Lake DeSmet at the G&F Commission meetings in Lander this week.

Johnson County Commission Chair Smokey Wildeman will give the presentation Wednesday to the G&F Commission in hopes of changing the terms of the proposed lease.

Currently, as proposed, the G&F wants a 99-year lease for junior water rights on the lake, shoreline management authority and other terms in exchange for roughly $3 million in lease payments. Operation and maintenance costs and any other liabilities would be borne by both Sheridan and Johnson Counties.

Sheridan County's commissioners are in favor of the lease, as is the Lake DeSmet Counties Coalition, while Johnson County is opposed to the lease.

The reasons for the opposition will be outlined by Wildeman at the G&F meeting: (1)The 99 year term of the lease is not acceptable. (2) The proposed $2,971,900 amount to be paid by G&F for the lease is not acceptable for the amount of water involved. (3) Shoreline management in lieu of payment is not acceptable. (4) Johnson County needs to be directly involved with future discussions. (5) G&F should be required to assume part of the liability in case of a catastrophic event at the lake, ie: major dam repair. (6) The county does not want to ask G&F if they can sell or lease water from the lake. (7) Any tax liability should be assumed by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission.

Copies of the reasons for the county's opposition to the lease are also being delivered to both the Sheridan County Commission and the Lake DeSmet Counties Coalition.

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