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WWRC 86-05i
Wyoming's Use and Needs of Riparian Areas: Agriculture

Man and nature are friends, not enemies. Early diaries and records indicate that nature was having a hard time supporting a couple million people until the advent of western civilization. In Wyoming, riparian zones were some of the most disturbed areas because of uncontrolled runoff and thundering bufialo herds.

Man's efforts in water storage for livestock and irrigation has helped to control some of the extreme fluctuations of the rivers and streams.

Ranches have no desire to see their land make Louisiana a larger state. They should be assisted in their efforts to help nature to cope with extremes. There is probably a place for EIS's and 404's, but it shouldn't be to restrict ranchers and other land owners from doing projects that help more than they could ever harm.

Keeping Wyoming's water in Wyoming means more than just not using any. Agricultural diversion of water has greatly enhanced the riparian areas and created a much larger water table than existed naturally. There were very few trees along most of Wyoming's waterways. Irrigation and grazing control has helped develop more riparian areas.

The citizens of Wyoming need to stress cooperation not regulation, education not legislation, and commendation not condemnation.

Poor irrigation and other agricultural practices need to be corrected, but we need to work on learning from past mistakes and not embrace a policy of doing nothing in fear of doing something wrong.

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