CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has signed an order declaring an emergency following a “catastrophic irrigation tunnel collapse in Goshen County.”
The declaration will mobilize resources to assist farmers affected by the collapse, according to a Tuesday, July 22 press release from the governor’s office.
“The collapse occurred early in the morning of July 17 along the Fort Laramie-Gering irrigation canal west of Lingle and caused a large breach of the canal wall,” states the release. “The disaster inundated farmland near the breach and has left more than 100,000 acres of cropland in Wyoming and Nebraska without water during a critical period for growers.”
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Goshen County Commissioners issued a disaster declaration on Tuesday as well, the release adds.
“‘This is a serious emergency and we recognize addressing an issue of this magnitude will take coordination, especially because it affects so many Wyoming and Nebraska farmers,'” Gordon said. “‘We are working with an understanding of the urgency of the situation, along with a need to proceed carefully. Wyoming is united in its effort to find the right way to help the Goshen Irrigation District get up and running.’”
Gordon visited the site of the collapse on Friday.
“The Governor’s office is assembling resources to engage federal partners and is working with the Wyoming Department of Agriculture, the Wyoming Office of Homeland Security and the State Engineer’s Office to explore potential options for resources and assistance,” the release states.
“State officials and representatives from Governor Gordon’s office will attend a stakeholder’s meeting organized by the Goshen Irrigation District scheduled for 2 pm Wednesday, July 24, at the Eastern Wyoming College auditorium. The meeting is open to the public and will include a discussion of the collapse and a possible timeline for repairs to the tunnel and ditch.”