DEQ announces completion of thesis Development of Thermal Tiers and Regulatory Criteria for Wyoming Stream Fishes

Water Quality Division
Published: July 21, 2017

Cheyenne, Wyo – The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is announcing the completion of a University of Wyoming Master’s thesis that compiles the latest scientific information on the temperature requirements for Wyoming stream fishes. 

The thesis, “Development of Thermal Tiers and Regulatory Criteria for Wyoming Stream Fishes,” was completed by Caitlin Peterson to partially fulfill requirements to earn a Master of Science in Zoology and Physiology at the University of Wyoming. The project was overseen by Dr. Annika Walters and Dr. Frank Rahel.

The project was initiated by DEQ's Surface Water Quality Standards Program of the Water Quality Division (WQD) to begin the process of compiling the information necessary to develop proposed revisions to Wyoming’s fisheries designated uses and temperature criteria. The thesis compiles scientific literature and information to recommend short-term and long-term temperature requirements for fish found in Wyoming streams and compiles field and modeled temperature data, along with fish distribution data collected by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the University of Wyoming. 
The thesis uses this information to make recommendations on ways Wyoming can modify temperature criteria and fisheries designated uses to more effectively protect and restore stream temperatures to support Wyoming fish species.

“We are very excited that Caitlin’s work can provide a springboard for WQD to begin efforts to revise Wyoming’s surface water quality standards to better protect Wyoming’s fisheries,” says Lindsay Patterson, Supervisor for the Surface Water Quality Standards Program. “Caitlin did a tremendous amount of work compiling literature, data and other information to develop her recommendations. We were pleased to have the cooperation of the University of Wyoming in developing and completing this project.”

DEQ is planning to evaluate the recommendations included in the thesis and work with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, other partners and the public to develop recommended fisheries designated uses and associated temperature criteria. Recommended changes will be proposed as future revisions to Wyoming’s surface water quality standards, which are included in Chapter 1 of the Water Quality Rules and Regulations. 
A copy of the thesis can be found by clicking here.