04/26 - 2019 Water Tour Goes West to Big Sky Country
The panoramic vistas of Yellowstone National Park and Montana’s “Big Sky Country” are the backdrop for the 2019 Nebraska Water and Natural Resources Tour.
Organized by the Nebraska Water Center (NWC) and Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District (CNPPID), the 48th annual tour runs September 15-19 and begins and ends in Billings, MT.
The tour kicks off with a welcome reception in Billings the evening of Sunday, September 15. The following morning participants will visit the University of Wyoming’s Research and Extension Center in Powell and a local irrigation district. That afternoon features a stop at the historic 350-foot Buffalo Bill Dam, one of the first concrete arch dams built in the U.S.
Tuesday, September 17 will be dedicated to exploring Yellowstone National Park. Possible activities include guided tours, hiking and a road trip along the Grand Loop – a serpentine passage through the heart of the park with stops at Mammoth Hot Springs, Fountain Pots and Old Faithful.
The next day the tour moves north to Gallatin County and Big Sky Resort. The area offers a multitude of water issues and participants will explore how water is shared and managed amongst ski resorts, ecosystems, municipalities, golf courses and agriculture. Possible stops later that day include an EPA Superfund site near Bozeman, MT., and visit to the Missouri River Headwaters State Park outside Three Forks, MT.
The tour’s final day – Thursday, September 19 – will feature discussions with farmers and ranchers in the Musselshell River basin. In just the past five years, three 100-year floods have struck the watershed. The tour plans to engage the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and local water management districts to learn how they’re managing extreme weather conditions. The bus returns to Billings Thursday night to conclude the tour.
All tour participants are responsible for their own airfare/travel to and from Billings.
In mid-May, NWC program assistant Patricia Liedle and PR & engagement coordinator Jesse Starita will join CNPPID government and public relations manager Jeff Buettner for a final tour scouting trip. The trio will meet with tour speakers, visit tour destinations and evaluate hotels, restaurants and routes for the tour.