Montana and Wyoming Debate Water in Bighorn Lake
Laramie, Wy – During a meeting on a water dispute between Wyoming and Montana participants found some agreement. That was on the need to build tourism in the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. It straddles the two states.
But disagreement continues on how to solve the larger problem of how much water should be stored in Bighorn Lake.
The meeting in Powell was hosted by the Bureau of Reclamation, it manages Yellowtail Dam on the Bighorn River in southern Montana. The dam backs up the Bighorn Lake inside the recreation area. The lake has been depleted in recent years by drought.
People around the recreation area on the Wyoming side want more water in the lake for fishing and boating. But that would require cutting the water flow out of Yellowtail Dam. Montana fears the reduced water flow will threaten trout populations in the Bighorn River.