Volume 14 Issue 8 September

Wyoming Focus

By Kris Polly

For more than 70 years, the Four States Irrigation Council has been providing irrigators from Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, and Wyoming a forum to connect with each other and share ideas. This month’s magazine starts out with interviews with current Four States President Steve Fletcher and with Brian Werner, who helped run the organization for many years. In addition to its conference each January, which is a must-visit for all in the region, Four States organizes an annual summer tour, which this year visited Wyoming.

With that in mind, we talk to the managers of two Wyoming irrigation districts: Kevin Strecker of Goshen Irrigation District (GID) and Tyler Weckler of Heart Mountain Irrigation District (HMID). GID, which was on the itinerary for Four States’ 2023 tour, has been working to recover from a catastrophic 2019 tunnel collapse and is planning a permanent replacement for the tunnel, among other projects. HMID is working on a variety of rehab projects as well as grappling with the changes in land and water use caused by urbanization.

We also speak with Margo Jarvis Redelback of the Alberta Irrigation Districts Association to learn a bit about irrigated ag north of the border.

Finally, we talk to Andrew Skibo, who recently launched ClearChannel Vegetation Management, an aquatic weed control company specifically aimed at helping irrigation districts.

The history of the Four States Irrigation Council, which goes back more than 70 years, and of GID and HMID, each of which is over 100 years old, demonstrates the significance of irrigated ag for Wyoming. While that long history implies the need for infrastructure maintenance and repair today,
it also reminds us of the efforts of the many farmers and water managers of the past. Like them, today’s irrigation professionals are working to ensure that these irrigation projects serve future generations.

Kris Polly is the editor-in-chief of Irrigation Leader magazine and the president of Water Strategies LLC, a government relations firm he began in February 2009 for the purpose of representing and guiding water, power, and agricultural entities in their dealings with Congress, the Bureau of Reclamation, and other federal government agencies. He may be contacted at kris.polly@waterstrategies.com.