History of Heart Mountain Irrigation District
The earliest attempt to irrigate lands in the area now included in the Shoshone Project was made by Colonel William F. Cody and Mr. Nate Salisbury in 1899. They proposed to construct an irrigation system to extend over lands now included in the Garland, Frannie, Heart Mountain, and Willwood divisions. Their plan was developed to the extent of building the canal on the south side of the Shoshone River to irrigate lands in the vicinity of Cody, Wyoming, but the magnitude of the enterprise discouraged investors and the project was abandoned for lack of funds.
In 1903, at the request of officials and residents of Wyoming, the Reclamation Service initiated investigations of the region. On the basis of these studies, the Secretary of the Interior authorized construction of the project on February 10, 1904.
The irrigation project was named the Shoshone Project and is currently comprised of four divisions, which include the Garland, Frannie, Willwood, and Heart Mountain divisions. Buffalo Bill Dam and Reservoir currently provides storage water to the four divisions. The Heart Mountain division was the last division of the Shoshone Project to be provided water and opened to settlement. Reclamation operated the facilities in the project until irrigation was established and transferred operation and maintenance (O&M) to the district in 1958.
Construction of the Heart Mountain division began in 1936 and was completed in 1948. Over 1700 acres of the division were cultivated during World War II by Japanese evacuees confined at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center. Settlement began with the opening of 83 farm units on October 3, 1946. Preference was given to veterans of World War II.
Two openings in 1949 completed the development of the Heart Mountain division. The Heart Mountain and Shoshone Irrigation Districts entered a joint operation and maintenance agreement in January 1960. From 1960 to 1997 the districts were jointly managed and operated. In 1997 Heart Mountain and Shoshone Irrigation Districts resumed separate operation with each of the two districts responsible for their own operation and maintenance.
Location and Features
Water for the division is diverted directly from Buffalo Bill via the 2-1/2 mile long Shoshone Canyon Conduit. The conduit is also used to supply the Heart Mountain Power Plant and the Buffalo Bill Power Plant. The division is operated and maintained by the Heart Mountain Irrigation District (HMID).