Community Members Invited to provide Input on Agricultural Plan for Wind River Reservation

A series of meetings to describe the community-based Wind River Indian Reservation Agricultural Resource Management Plan, and to seek input from residents about agricultural issues and solutions in their region of the reservation, are planned in four Fremont County communities.

The Wind River Indian Reservation (WRIR) Tribal Water Engineer’s Office and the Water Resource Control Board, collaborating with the University of Wyoming, will hold meetings to describe the community-based Agricultural Resource Management Plan. Food and refreshments will be served at the following meetings:

Ethete, Thursday, Nov. 12, 6 p.m. at Wyoming Indian High School Tech Center.

Arapahoe, Friday, Nov. 13, 6 p.m. at Arapahoe School, Administrative Building.

Crowheart, Monday, Nov. 16, at 6 p.m. at Big Wind Community Hall.

Fort Washakie, Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 6 p.m. at Frank B. Wise Center.

“The intent of the meetings is to inform the public about the agricultural plan, the process to create it and the time frame in which to complete the plan,” says Bill Gribb, head of the UW Department of Geography and the project’s principal investigator. “The plan is community-based and needs input from the local citizens about their agricultural-related concerns and issues and, more importantly, their suggestions for solutions to the issues and problems.”

The Agricultural Resource Management Plan’s vision is a “viable, self-directed and sustainable agricultural economy that enhances the education, health, natural resources, traditions and culture of the Native people, and provides direction for agricultural development for now and into the future,” according to the plan’s narrative.

Gribb says planning includes using community input throughout the process to: determine the major issues on the Wind River Indian Reservation regarding agriculture; organize issues into topics and determine what broad statements can be made about the topics, and create methods to address the issues; identify agricultural policy options to solve the issues; analyze the policy options to determine their feasibility; and select feasible policies for agricultural development.

Among topics covered in the agriculture plan are land management; land leasing; land productivity; irrigation systems; water storage and distribution; cropland productivity; grazing leases; agricultural product marketing; food production for home and for market; traditional crops and plants; and future farmers and sustainability.

“The project is to develop a 20-year Agricultural Resource Management Plan for the reservation, which will provide the direction to make agriculture a viable economic development activity,” Gribb says.

The project is a collaboration among the WRIR Office of the Tribal Water Engineer, the Eastern Shoshone Business Council, the Northern Arapaho Business Council, UW HPAIRI (High Plains American Indian Research Institute), EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) – WyCEHG (Wyoming Center for Hydrology and Geophysics), UW College of Arts and Sciences, and the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.