UW to host symposium marking the end of water adjudication

Aug 24, 2014 From staff reports

A lengthy, high-profile and often contentious case involving the adjudication of water rights in Wyoming's Wind-Big Horn River system is the subject of a Sept. 10-12 symposium in Riverton sponsored by the University of Wyoming.

"Wyoming's Big Horn General Stream Adjudication, 1977-2014," hosted by the UW College of Law with support from more than a dozen other campus units, will take place at the Wind River Hotel and Casino.

The event is free and open to the public, although registration is required.

The Wyoming State Legislature in 1977 initiated the Big Horn River adjudication in response to an assertion of water rights by the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes. It has involved a review of water claims held by more than 20,000 parties in the Wind River and Big Horn River basins. After 37 years, the adjudication is expected to conclude early this fall with a final decree entered by the state District Court.

The proceeding has prompted two major rulings by the Wyoming Supreme Court, as well as one closely watched decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, all involving water rights held by the two tribes of the Wind River Indian Reservation. The adjudication is considered a landmark in the fields of Western water law and American Indian law.

Among those scheduled to participate in the symposium are past and current federal, state and tribal officials who have been involved in the adjudication.

For more information or to register for the symposium, visit

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