From Fields to Fish

Posted by: 

In-stream flows have been “cussed and discussed” in Wyoming for 50 years, but it wasn't until 25 years ago that a reluctant Wyoming Legislature enacted an in-stream flow law. And it wasn't until last week that a Wyoming rancher actually offered his irrigation water right to the state to become an in-stream flow right to support fish.

To the rancher,  the successful donation means keeping a water right in his community that would otherwise be lost. And to both state water officials and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, that is a sign of Wyoming people coming around to accepting the once fiercely-fought concept of protecting water to stay flowing in-stream for fish.
The ruling last week by the state Board of Control, which allowed the change from irrigation to in-stream flow, also set precedent for exactly how such a change can take place should other Wyoming water rights holders decide to turn over a water right to the state. See more details here.
Huggins is a research fellow and director of outreach with PERC as well as a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Her association with PERC goes back several years, and she officially joined the staff in Bozeman in 2005.Huggins coauthored with Terry Anderson Property Rights: A Practical Guide to Freedom and Prosperity...
Read More > More Articles by Laura Huggins >