Public input sought on cloud-seeding study

By Associated Press January 3, 2006

CASPER - Medicine Bow National Forest has begun taking public comments on part of a study to assess whether cloud seeding can boost precipitation in the state.

Cloud seeding involves spewing silver iodide into clouds to coax more rain and snow to fall.

Wyoming has contributed $8.8 million toward a five-year cloud-seeding project in the Wind River, Medicine Bow and Sierra Madre ranges. The goal is to add to the scientific data - which so far have been mixed - on whether cloud seeding works.

The project is being carried out by Weather Modification Inc. of Fargo, N.D. It has submitted a proposal to Medicine Bow National Forest to operate up to 16 ground-based, cloud-seeding devices starting this winter. Some aerial cloud seeding would take place, as well.

The generators would operate six to 10 times a month, possibly boosting precipitation within 25 to 100 miles. Cloud seeding would be suspended when target mountain snowpack was reached, before large storms and during flooding or avalanche warnings, the proposal says.

Jane Darnell, Wyoming state liaison for the U.S. Forest Service, said proposals for cloud seeding elsewhere in the state had not been submitted.

"Right now we only have the proposal for the Medicine Bow portion of the study," she said.

Medicine Bow officials plan to accept comment until mid-February.


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