wind river

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a new plan for land use in the Wind River Basin today/Thursday, which supporters say balances the needs of industry, conservation, and recreation.

The new Resource Management Plan is the result of a cooperative process involving federal, state, and local agencies as well as land owners and recreation enthusiasts.

Wyoming representative for The Wilderness Society, Dan Smitherman, says that the plan’s release does not mean that the conversation about how best to use these lands is over.

Several residents have been asked to evacuate their homes in Wood’s Landing because an access road was flooded by the rising Laramie River.  And residents in the towns of Saratoga and Encampment are on alert for evacuations, as high snow melt floods the North Platte River.  Flooding in Park and Fremont Counties has not led to evacuations, but officials are wary of rainfall this weekend.  

Kathi Metzler is the Emergency Management Coordinator in Fremont County where she’s monitoring the Wind River.

Wyoming Public Radio is now heard on 90.9 in the Wind River corridor.   Classical Wyoming, WPM’s classical music service, is now heard on 91.9.  

Wyoming Public Media (WPM) changed frequencies in the Lander/Riverton area.

“The stronger KUWW 90.0 ensures an improved signal and has a broader reach.  The new signal represents a power increase from 10 watts to 8,000 watts,” says Shane Toven, WPM Director of Engineering.

School officials from the Wind River Reservation admit they have problems graduating students and with educating students, but they also say they are slowly making progress.  School officials told a meeting of two legislative committees that more early education and more involvement with parents.  But they all say that socio-economic factors also play a role.  Wyoming Interim Education Director Jim Rose says resolving that issue will be tricky.

Wind River Reservation

The tribes on the Wind River Indian Reservation have signed a six-month temporary contract with Fremont County to continue solid waste disposal services there. The previous contract expired earlier this month.

The Wyoming Department of Education recently released the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students – or PAWS – results. In reading, the state improved by about 2 percentage points, but the Arapahoe School on the Wind River Reservation, which serves 350 Native American students, jumped an average of 13 points.

HOST: As we just heard, the uranium industry may have a long way to go in earning back the public’s trust, especially on the Wind River Reservation. In 2010, the Department of Energy released well monitoring data from the Wind River Reservation. What they found was that uranium levels in a number of their wells had spiked up to 100 times the legal limit. In early May the Department of Energy released tap test results showing uranium levels nearly twice the legal limit, but later said the results were anomalies.

Tribal officials on the Wind River Reservation continue to seek answers after the Department of Energy announced that uranium was found in some residents' tap water.

DOE officials announced Wednesday evening that data collected last fall indicated that four households near a former uranium waste site had levels of uranium nearly twice the legal limit.

Dean Goggles is executive Director for the Wind River Environmental Quality Commission.

A recent report shows that 2010 revenue from Native American casinos grew a little over one-percent, down significantly from previous years.

The Indian Gaming Industry Report shows that in 2008 revenue growth ran about 39-percent… and in 2009 it shrank to nearly 10-percent. The new numbers rank Wyoming 15th in the nation, compared to 28 other states that have Indian gaming.

Alan Meister is the author of the report. He says despite the drop in growth, future improvements to revenue may be on the way.

In a February letter to the Department of Energy, Gov. Matt Mead expressed concern that the passive handling of uranium contamination on the Wind River Reservation might not be living up to the DOE’s remedial action plan.

The DOE asserted that the site would clean itself up after 100 years, and despite that uranium tailings were removed from the site decades ago, spikes in uranium were measured in DOE monitoring wells in 2010.

The Travel, Recreation, Wildlife and Cultural Resources Interim Committee has passed a final draft of a wolf management plan. The state must maintain no fewer than 10 breeding pairs or a hundred individuals and would protect wolves in Yellowstone and the Wind River Reservation, designate them as trophy game in parts of the Western Mountains, and allow people to shoot them on sight in the remaining 85 percent of Wyoming.

The federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is honoring a youth program on the Wind River Reservation for its efforts to prevent substance abuse and the spread of HIV.

This is the first time a Native American group has received a Voices of Prevention award. The Wind River Tribal Youth Program offers a range of health and social programs to kids from the Northern Arapaho Tribe. 

Executive Director Donna Trosper says substance abuse is a big problem among young people in the area.

In the wake of a congressional hearing over a draft report by the Environmental Protection Agency that links hydraulic fracturing with water contamination in the town of Pavillion, the Wind River Tribes are pushing to take a bigger role in the investigation.