Must consider the common good

Re: Riparian regulations

As a resident of the county and a property owner with over a quarter mile along both banks of the Tongue River near Ranchester, I would like to urge the county commisioners to vote in favor of the riparian management proposal.

I know the value of watching the daily events that take place along a beautiful watershed, which are innumerable but which all of us here are fortunate to enjoy. Our property is irrigated by the North Tongue River Ditch and our water rights are precious.

Every year our ditch company spends time maintaining and cleaning the ditch which fills with debris from beavers and humans alike. We would like to believe we are good stewards out here and we are proud of our hayfields and pasture. But we know we contribute to the runoff from irrigation operations which end up being part of the problem of keeping our streams clear for those who enjoy recreational activities.

Although agriculture is exempted from many of these proposed regulations, there have been several ranchers and farmers who are invested to preserve and protect further environmental damage to the watersheds. This great county has done beautiful projects such as the restoration of the Acme ponds at the Kleenburn Recreation Area, which many families enjoy taking their kids to fish or boat on.

Those who spoke against government interference fail to see some of these benefits to the community at large. Yes, as much as I dislike the regulations to fence out my neighbors’ livestock, I also recognize the need for those regulations. In the 20 years since our fences went up, my river banks are now fully landscaped with new growth and lush grass.

Our view no longer looks over muddy silt slipping into the stream and we enjoy the visits of the great blue herons, Sandhill cranes and nesting places for the Canada geese every spring.

Let us not be short-sighted in the interest of our need to protect our rights of ownership. Water will be the single-most important issue on this planet in this century. We are so blessed in Sheridan County to be able to fish, boat, watch a sunset glinting over the meander of a beautiful stream.

I urge everybody to attend the Aug. 20 county commissioners meeting and be a strong voice in favor of their adoption of this proposal.

 

Wendy Condrat

Ranchester

 


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