Re: Wilson letter, Press, July 6
We have to disagree with the opinion that additional riparian regulations are good for all. As a former Wyoming Game and Fish employee, Mr. Wilson must have been actively involved in the development of the current riparian regulations, which were implemented by the county in 2008. It’s a shame that he is not in favor of letting the current regulations have time to take effect before making them more stringent and taking land from small landowners.
When researching the topics brought forward in his letter, we found that almost all of the research on riparian buffer degradation focuses on damage caused by overgrazing. The Wyoming Game and Fish produced a recent publication entitled, “Response of Prairie Stream Riparian Buffers to Livestock Exclusion and Short Duration Grazing in Northeastern Wyoming.” This documented the “astonishing” changes in the restoration of riparian habitats in Sheridan and Johnson County achieved by limiting grazing and/or excluding grazing in riparian areas. (It does make me wonder if the next step to be proposed is to limit grazing in riparian areas.)
The question begs to be asked…why are the riparian zones owned by small landowners the only ones to be impacted by these proposed regulations? Aren’t all riparian zones valuable including those in the city, those owned by the government, those owned by farms and ranches, and those lands involved in the extraction and production of mineral resources? Based on research, the small landowners seem to have the least amount of impact on riparian zones.
As landowners whose entire property rests within the “riparian zone,” we can’t help but wonder who among us would want to ask the government’s permission to use your own land. In fact, in order to ask permission to use your land, you would have to pay a $475 variance fee with no guarantee that you would receive approval.
This puts Sheridan County small property owners at the mercy of the political whims of politicians and bureaucrats. This is not the way we like to do things in Wyoming.
While everyone has a right to their opinion, when it impacts the property rights of other residents of Sheridan County and not their own…their opinion should be carefully weighed.
If the county has identified riparian areas that need repair, they should work specifically with those landowners to educate and then to support the needed changes.
Rick and Anne Ochs