Today, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released the revised technical Categorical Use Attainability Analysis (UAA) for Recreation that identifies low flow channels in Wyoming that are not used for swimming or similar water contact activities.
The UAA for Recreation was developed in cooperation with input from Wyoming stakeholders and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) to better distinguish between surface waters that are used for swimming and non-swimming uses so that water quality criteria are applied appropriately. Water quality criteria to protect swimming are not intended to protect waters for showering, drinking, eating, washing pots and pans, etc.
"This analysis is a big step toward ensuring that our streams have the appropriate protections for our citizens,” said Kevin Frederick, Water Quality Administrator. “DEQ is confident that the revised designations will help the department better manage Wyoming’s surface waters and ensure that the uses of those waters are adequately protected."
The revised analysis incorporates public feedback received prior to and during a public hearing in Casper, Wyoming on September 16, 2015. Since the project began in 2009, DEQ has improved the analysis based on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and public feedback received through informal feedback, three written comment periods, a public meeting and an administrative hearing.
"DEQ sincerely appreciates the public’s participation in the development and revision of this analysis. Public comments have helped clarify the intent and improve the scope of the analysis," added Frederick.
Changes from the previous analysis include:
- Class 1 waters were withdrawn. This includes all waters in Wilderness Areas, National Parks, the Fish Creek Watershed near Wilson, Wyoming, and other streams/rivers around the state (portions of the: Snake River, Green River, Wind River, North Platte River, Sand Creek, Middle Fork of the Powder River, North Fork and South Forks of Tongue Rivers, Sweetwater River, Encampment River, Clarks Fork River, Granite Creek). Class 1 waters will continue to be managed to protect water quality that existed at the time the water was designated as Class 1.
- Waters in Indian Country were withdrawn. As identified in the previous versions of the UAA, EPA or authorized tribes administer the federal Clean Water Act in Indian Country.
- Primary contact recreation was retained on all waters congressionally designated as Wild and Scenic Rivers
According to DEQ, the public will be given 60 days to review this final analysis and can appeal designations to the Environmental Quality Council. The revised designations will then be submitted to the USEPA for approval. Individuals are encouraged to work with DEQ to modify recreational designated uses, where appropriate, at specific sites after the Recreation UAA has been submitted.
The public can review the revised Recreation UAA, response to comments, and other related documents by clicking here.