Laramie Plans to Revamp Dowlin Ditch for Use and City Growth
The City of Laramie is making long-term water goals for city growth, wildlife and wetland preservation, irrigation, and public use.
The Dowlin Ditch Rehabilitation project has been underway for over a year. It began in May of 2022, and last month, the City of Laramie Natural Resources Department concluded the Level 2 study which examined planning and feasibility and is a necessary step for the construction application required by the Wyoming Water Development Commission (WWDC).
In a study released in 2021, Wyoming Game and Fish named Dowlin Dam as one of two structures in the watershed as areas of highest concern. Dowlin Ditch is currently considered a complete barrier to fish passage through the watershed, meaning fish cannot move upstream during most, or all, flows. In the summer, fish need to seek cooler and deeper waters, and in winter, to more stable habitats and shelter from predators.
The purpose of these types of studies, and the Dowlin Ditch Rehabilitation project overall, is to control and maintain efficient water flow for irrigation, fish passage, safety, and operations. The main goals of the project include irrigation to City-owned ranches, fish passage, public access, and visual appeal, wetland preservation, floater passage, and the long-term goal of water rights transfer to municipal use. This project could allow Laramie to double in size based on current water use in the next two decades.
Now that the planning and feasibility studies have concluded, the next step for the Dowlin Ditch Rehabilitation and Fish Passage Project is to move forward with Level 3 of the project, which includes submitting an application for construction at the project site to the WWDC.
The City of Laramie is conducting the Dowlin Ditch Rehabilitation and Fish Passage Project thanks to 100% funding from the WWDC. This funding assists with fish passage while maintaining the City’s current primary objective of providing irrigation from the Dowlin Ditch.
“This project is essential for Laramie’s drinking water, fish habitat, and municipal use. The Dowlin Ditch is extremely important for Laramie’s growth and development. The long-term effects of this project will eventually fulfill the goal of securing Laramie’s municipal water for the future,” says Smith.
Laramie residents can view wildlife protection project documents and updates on the city website here.