Teton Conservation District

Our Water Quality Monitoring Program

TCD's monitoring program is focused on known issues, such as pollution in the Town of Jackson resulting from the stormwater runoff, and nutrient pollution in Fish Creek resulting from a variety of sources.  As well, we assist local landowners and management agencies with water quality monitoring.

If you have are aware of a water quality issue, please contact our water resource specialist at (307) 733-2110.

Flat Creek

In 1996, to ensure compliance with the U.S. Clean Water Act (CWA), the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) completed an assessment of Wyoming’s surface water quality. This assessment identified the state’s designated beneficial uses for Flat Creek were threatened due to non-point source pollution. Further water and habitat quality monitoring completed by Teton Conservation District and the Town of Jackson confirmed that the designated beneficial uses for aquatic life and cold water fisheries were impaired due to sediment loading from urban stormwater runoff. In order to ensure compliance with the CWA, WDEQ requires either a locally led watershed management planning effort or a WDEQ calculated limit on the quantity of a pollutant that Flat Creek can receive, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). Faced with the potential of a state regulatory control, the stakeholders within the Flat Creek watershed opted to implement a locally led watershed plan.  Flat Creek Watershed Management Plan

Flat Creek Sampling

In 1996 the Teton Conservation District started a water quality sampling program in order to build a long-term database of baseline chemical, biological, and physical information. In 2000, in conjunction with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ), TCD implemented an accepted water quality sampling and analysis plan. 

By 2015, the Teton Conservation District has collected 15 years of credible data under the WDEQ approved sampling and analysis plan. Many changes have happened within the watershed over the last 13 years and the conservation district believes the collection of sufficient baseline water quality data has been achieved. Physical changes in the Flat Creek watershed including the installation of the Karns Meadow Stormwater Treatment Wetland, the Flat Creek Enhancement Project, and improved stormwater runoff control have appeared to improve Flat Creeks ability to sustain a viable cold-water fishery. In cooperation with WDEQ, the Teton Conservation District is preparing an updated sampling and analysis plan that will focus on monitoring the improvements that have been completed in the watershed with the ultimate goal of removing Flat Creek from the list of threatened waterbodies.

Fish Creek

In 1996 the Teton Conservation District started a water quality sampling program in order to build a long-term database of baseline chemical, biological, and physical information. In 1999, in conjunction with the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ), TCD implemented an accepted water quality sampling and analysis plan.

Public concern about nuisance growths of aquatic plants in Fish Creek has been increasing since the early 2000s. To address this concern, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Teton Conservation District, began studying Fish Creek in 2004 to describe the hydrology of the creek and later (2007–2011) to characterize the water quality and the biological communities.

The USGS and Teton Conservation District previewed the release of the final scientific investigation at an open house in Wilson, Wyoming during May 2013. At the meeting we discussed the physical, biological, and chemical data collected from 2007-11 on and near Fish Creek, and the recent analysis of the entire data set. The data was used to describe the watershed and answer questions local residents had about excessive algae growth in the creek. Analysis of 2007-08 data (http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2010/5188/) showed that the quantity of algae was atypical for streams in Wyoming. The recent data analysis, which will be published in the upcoming report, describes potential reasons why the growth of algae and other aquatic plants is at a high level.

Data collection for the TCD baseline water quality sampling and analysis sampling plan for Fish Creek was suspended during the collection of samples for the USGS/TCD Fish Creek Investigation. TCD is satisfied that the 14 years of water quality baseline data will be sufficient. The TCD Fish Creek sampling and analysis plan is currently being revised in order to continue data collection similar to that of the Fish Creek Investigation.

 Further details of the Fish Creek Investigation can be found on the Water Improvement Projects page.

Water Quality Monitoring Authority

Conservation districts in Wyoming have the ability to perform water quality monitoring as provided by the following statutes:

Local conservation districts have statutory authority (State Statutes 11-16-103 and 11-16-
122(b)(v)) to assume the responsibility and leadership for information and education programs related to water quality and to provide the technical expertise related to natural resource management issues.

The Teton Conservation District is dedicated to ensuring that water quality determinations, which affect Wyoming’s citizens, are made utilizing credible data. In 1999, the Wyoming State legislature passed legislation that defined credible data and how it was to be utilized in Wyoming.

W.S. 35-11-103 (c) (xix) “credible data” means scientifically valid chemical, physical andbiological monitoring data collected under an accepted sampling and analysis plan, including quality control, quality assurance procedures and available historical data.

For more information about this program contact TCD (307) 733-2110.