Nonpoint Source

Contact
NAME/EMAIL ADDRESSPROGRAMPHONE
David Waterstreet, Program ManagerWatershed Program307-777-6709
Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification and Turbidity Waivers  
Eric Hargett (Cheyenne)CWA Section 401 Certification, Turbidity Waivers307-777-6701
Data Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC)  
Jillian Scott (Cheyenne)Data QA/QC307-777-6372
Nonpoint Source Pollution Program  
Alexandria Jeffers (Cheyenne)Nonpoint Source Program307-777-6733
Surface Water Monitoring Program  
Jeremy Zumberge, Program Supervisor (Sheridan)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-675-5638
Tavis Eddy (Lander)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-335-6957
Eric Hargett (Cheyenne)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-777-6701
Jason Martineau (Sheridan)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-675-5632
Triston Rice (Cheyenne)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-777-6353
Chad Rieger (Sheridan)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-675-5637
Michael Wachtendonk (Lander)Surface Water Monitoring Program307-335-6751
Surface Water Quality Standards  
Lindsay Patterson, Program Supervisor (Cheyenne)Surface Water Quality Standards307-777-7079
Kelsee Hurschman (Cheyenne)Surface Water Quality Standards, Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms307-777-2073
Madeleine Hamel (Cheyenne)Surface Water Quality Standards, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)307-777-7050
Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program  
Ron Steg, Program Lead (Lander)Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)307-335-6980
Bret Callaway (Cheyenne)Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)307-777-5802
Water Quality Lab  
Steve Vien, Lab Supervisor (Cheyenne)Water Quality Lab307-777-7654
Alexandra Cook (Cheyenne)Water Quality Lab307-777-7151
Marisa Latady (Cheyenne)Water Quality Lab307-777-6783
Vacant (Cheyenne)Water Quality Lab307-777-3770
Best Management Practices

This page contains a variety of supplemental resources for best management practices for dealing with and monitoring nonpoint source pollution. Among these resources include materials from the University of Wyoming, the National Resources Conservation Science, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the Wyoming State Forestry. 

Best Management Practices Monitoring Guide for Stream Systems — Mesner, N. and G. Paige.  2011. University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service Publication B-1213.

Best Management Practices: Monitoring Guidance — University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service

Electronic Field Office Technical Guide (e-FOTG)— Natural Resources Conservation Service

National Best Management Practices for Water Quality Management on National Forest Lands —  Volume I: National Core BMP Technical Guide. April 2012.  United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. FS-00a.

BMP Resources Available on EPA's Watershed Central Wiki — Contains over 1,000 watershed-related articles from a variety of contributing authors and organizations. 

Wyoming Forestry BMPs — Available through Wyoming State Forestry, contains BMPs for Wyoming's forests. 

Educational Resources
  • WDEQ “Know Your Well” Program: “Know Your Well Day” is March 13 of every year, but every day is a good day to learn more about your drinking water well. This page contains a variety of information.
     
  • EPA’s Surf Your Watershed Website: This page contains a tool that allows you to locate your watershed and find a listing of citizen-based groups that are working to protect water quality. 
     
  • WDEQ Groundwater Pollution Control Website: The Groundwater Pollution Control (GPC) Program evaluates potential impacts to the groundwaters of the State by activities permitted at the local, state, or federal level.
     
  • Barnyards and Backyards: This page, created by the University of Wyoming Cooperative Extension Service, provides a variety of articles written by natural resource experts explaining better ways to live on your acreage. 
     
  • City of Casper Stormwater Management Website: This page contains information on the City of Casper’s Stormwater Management program.
     
  • Pathway to Water Quality Project at the State Fair Grounds: This page contains information on the Pathway to Water Quality Project, which aims to educate citizens on water quality and their watersheds.
     
  • EPA Polluted Runoff Education Resources Website: This page contains a deeper explanation of what nonpoint pollution is and things you can do to protect your water quality.
     
  • NNOAA Nonpoint Source Pollution Website: This page contains more information on nonpoint pollution, as well as information on the SciLinks evaluation criteria.
     
  • EPA Stormwater Calculator: This page contains the EPA Stormwater Calculator, which estimates the annual amount of rainwater and frequency of runoff from any site in the United States. 
     
  • CountyOffice.org:  This page contains an internet database of county government offices in the United States and can be used to find contact information for local government agencies.  

 

Grant Resources

On a competitive basis, Clean Water Act Section 319 funds to reduce nonpoint source pollution are available to public and private entities, including local governments, cities, counties, school systems, colleges and universities, nonprofit organizations, state agencies, federal agencies, watershed groups, for-profit groups, and individuals.  Awards to individuals are limited to demonstration projects. Nonpoint source pollution is pollution which results from runoff of contaminants into surface waters or infiltration of contaminants into groundwater. It is generally associated with human land use activities such as agriculture, construction, mineral exploration, recreation, timber harvesting, and urban development.  Section 319 grant funds are primarily directed towards “on-the-ground” watershed restoration or protection projects, but please be sure to read through all guidance to understand eligible project types and program priorities.

Clean Water Act Section 205(j) funds to address water quality management planning are available to cities, towns, counties, and conservation districts on a competitive basis.  The Nonpoint Source Program anticipates receiving $40,000 of 205(j) grant funds in FY22.

Further information on grant requirements and proposal instructions as well as downloadable copies of required forms are provided in the “Resources” table below.  Please be sure to read through the “Memorandum” documents first as they contain important guidance and instructions. Please be sure to download and complete the current forms as proposals submitted on past years’ application forms will not be accepted. Please note that additional Section 319 funding may be available during the FY22 RFP cycle via returned FY20 project funds, and certain projects may have additional timeline restrictions due to FY20 grant closure deadlines. This will be discussed in the upcoming grants application training, detailed below.

If you need assistance with identifying Sage Grouse Core Areas as part of preparing a Section 319 grant proposal (see Section 319 Memorandum and Application Form), please refer to the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Sage-Grouse Management/Sage-Grouse Data webpage.

Please contact Alex Jeffers, Nonpoint Source Program Coordinator at (307) 777-6733 or alexandria.jeffers@wyo.gov with any questions.

Projects

Click here to access information about currently active Section 319 and 205(j) projects in Wyoming.

Click here to access the Wyoming Association of Conservation District’s 2018 Watersheds Progress Report, which provides information on the efforts of Wyoming’s conservation districts to restore impaired waterbodies.  Note the new Story Map format!

Click here to visit EPA's Nonpoint Source Success Stories website and read about Wyoming's restoration success stories.

Use the table below to find final reports for recently completed Section 319 and 205(j) projects.  Use the search function to search for projects by keyword or sponsor.  Due to the size of some reports, some appendices may not be posted.  Please contact the NPS Program or the project sponsor for more information.  

Please contact Alex Jeffers, Nonpoint Source Program Coordinator at (307) 777-6733 or alexandria.jeffers@wyo.gov with any questions.

Reports and Documents

This page contains a variety of program documents and reports, including annual reports and the Wyoming Nonpoint Source Management Plan. 

The 2018 Nonpoint Source Program Report is available in ArcGIS Story Map format; the report can be accessed here.

The 2019 Nonpoint Source Program Report is available in ArcGIS Story Map format; the report can be accessed here.

The 2020 Nonpoint Source Program Report is available in ArcGIS Story Map format; the report can be accessed here.

Sponsors

This page contains information to assist project sponsors with management of their currently active Section 319 or 205(j) projects. This information includes reporting requirements and guidelines, reimbursement request guidance, links to federal resources, and more.

Rules and Regulations

All official Wyoming State Rules and Regulations are kept at the Wyoming Secretary of State's Office. Click here to view all current Rules and Regulations. 

 

As part of the Watershed Protection Program of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ), Water Quality Division (WQD), the Wyoming Nonpoint Source Program works through voluntary and incentive methods to preserve and restore the quality of Wyoming’s surface and ground water resources. 

To do this, the Nonpoint Source Program relies on voluntary implementation of nonpoint source pollution reduction projects by individual landowners, local groups, and other state, local, and federal government agencies in a cooperative effort to address water quality improvements on a watershed scale.

Nonpoint source pollution is caused by surface water runoff that is diffuse in nature and often widespread, making it difficult to assess the source of the problem. It is different from point source pollution, which can be traced back to a single defined source.

How Nonpoint Source Pollution Occurs

Nonpoint source pollution occurs when runoff from rainfall or snowmelt travels over and/or infiltrates through the ground and picks up contaminants. These contaminants are deposited into streams, lakes, rivers, and ground water.

Nonpoint source pollution is generally associated with human land-disturbing activities such as: 

  • Urban development
  • Construction
  • Agriculture
  • Recreation
  • Silviculture
  • Mineral exploration

Common Contaminants

Common nonpoint source contaminants include the following:

  • Fertilizers and pesticides from agricultural and residential activity
  • Oil, grease, and toxic chemicals from urban runoff
  • Sediment from construction activity or stream bank erosion
  • Bacteria and nutrients from livestock and pet waste, or from failing septic systems

Water quality affects all Wyoming citizens.  In addition to providing safe drinking water, clean water supports agriculture, recreation, and tourism, and is necessary for healthy ecosystems. 

Even if we don’t live next to a stream or river, activities that each of us do can affect water quality.  At any moment, we are each located in a watershed.  A watershed is an area of land that drains to a common point, usually a stream, river, wetland, or lake.  Think of a big bathtub!  Watersheds can be very small, just a few acres, or they can be very large, encompassing a good portion of the state or multiple states, depending on what drainage point you are considering.  Small watersheds make up larger watersheds. 

Runoff from rainfall events or snowmelt travels over and through the land in a watershed.  As it does, it may pick up pollutants that are ultimately deposited into streams, rivers, or lakes within the watershed.  Thus activities that occur throughout the watershed, not only those directly adjacent to waterbodies, can affect the quality of water that we each rely on for drinking water, fishing, boating, agriculture, and many other uses.

Therefore, restoration and protection of our water quality resources is something each citizen can help achieve.  Some restoration and protection projects require extensive planning and coordination between local organizations, private landowners, and government agencies.  However, there are also simple activities that each of us can do to prevent nonpoint source pollution to Wyoming’s streams, lakes and rivers.  Residents should understand that while the actions of a single person may seem insignificant, when combined with similar actions of hundreds or thousands of other residents, the potential to pollute their local waters is very real.  The quart of oil dumped down a storm drain by one person on a given Saturday may be repeated hundreds of times that day.  Thus, while each of the following activities may seem minor, the combined effort of citizens across the state can make a major improvement in our water quality!  

 

Ten Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Nonpoint Source Pollution

  • Use the minimal amount of fertilizers and pesticides needed for your lawn or garden. Read label directions carefully!  Do not apply pesticides or fertilizers to your lawn or garden before or during rain.
  • Consider planting native plant species in your yard that use less water and have fewer or no pesticide and fertilizer requirements. 
  • Establish plants on bare areas of your yard to prevent soil erosion.
  • Keep lawn clippings, leaves, and other yard waste out of storm drains and gutters.  Compost yard waste and kitchen waste and leave lawn clippings on your lawn.
  • Make sure that household chemicals and automotive products such as paints, cleaners, oil, and antifreeze are disposed of properly.  Contact your local government to see if there is a hazardous household waste collection program in your community.  Select less-toxic or non-toxic household cleaners when possible.  
  • If caring for livestock on your property, manage animal waste to minimize mixing with stormwater runoff.
  • Pick up pet waste.
  • Clean up spilled oil, antifreeze and brake fluids.  Never put used oil or other chemicals down storm drains and street gutters—these outlets drain directly to our streams, rivers, and lakes!
  • Wash your car on the grass or at a car wash.  Washing your car on the driveway means that soap and dirt will wash into the nearest storm drain.

More ideas on EPA’s Website “What You Can Do To Prevent NPS Pollution”

More ideas on the City of Casper’s Stormwater Management Website

Nonpoint sources of pollution contribute to the majority of Wyoming’s surface water quality impairments. 

The three nonpoint source pollutants causing the majority of Wyoming’s surface water quality impairments are bacterial pathogens, sediment, and selenium.

Bacterial Pathogens

Nonpoint sources of pathogenic bacteria such as Escherichia coli commonly include faulty or inadequate septic systems, livestock operations, pet waste, and wildlife. Exposure to elevated levels of pathogenic bacteria can be a public health safety concern if contaminated water was accidentally ingested during recreation uses of the water body.

Sediment

Eroding stream banks and surface runoff over bare land contribute sediment to Wyoming’s waters. Human land-disturbing activities that can contribute to erosion and sediment transport include:

  • Crop production
  • Construction
  • Roads
  • Overgrazing by livestock or wildlife
  • Timber harvesting
  • Urban development
  • Mining

Sediment loading increases turbidity which limits the amount of sunlight reaching aquatic plants and also affects fish spawning grounds and macroinvertebrate communities. In addition, sediment often transports other pollutants, such as phosphorus, nitrogen, pathogens, and heavy metals, which can attach to the sediment particles. 

Selenium

Selenium is an essential trace element to humans and animals, but in higher concentrations can be toxic. Selenium bioaccumulates and can negatively impact fish and waterfowl reproduction. 

Selenium naturally occurs in the soils of several areas of Wyoming, particularly in areas derived from marine shales. Precipitation and irrigation of selenium rich soils can dissolve and mobilize selenium to surface and ground waters. 

Thus, while some sources of selenium occur naturally, anthropogenic activities that can increase selenium loading to surface waters include irrigated agriculture return flow, mining, and oil and gas production.

Riparian areas are the narrow strips of land adjacent to streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, and wetlands.  They are characterized by plant species that are adapted to a wetter environment than plant species that dominate drier, upland environments.  In arid and semi-arid climates, such as Wyoming, riparian areas can usually be clearly distinguished as the green areas adjacent to streams, rivers, and lakes. 

 

While riparian areas comprise only a very small portion of the land area in the state, they are an extremely important component of healthy watersheds and ecological function.  Riparian areas provide critical habitat for wildlife.  Relating to water quality, the ecological benefits of riparian areas are numerous.  By acting as buffers between upland areas and open water, they help filter pollutants such as nutrients and sediment.  Healthy riparian vegetation helps to reduce stream bank erosion and maintain stable stream channel geomorphology.  Vegetation also provides shade, which works to lower water temperatures.  Lower water temperatures support higher dissolved oxygen levels which are important to maintain fisheries. 

 

Many land-uses have the potential to negatively affect riparian areas.  Urban development, improper grazing practices, improper timber harvesting practices, and over-use from recreational activities are just a few examples.   Consequently, there are areas in Wyoming where a functional, healthy riparian zone no longer exists.  Streams that were once lined with willows or other riparian species may now only be lined with limited grass or sedges that are not capable of stabilizing stream banks. 

 

Many local organizations, agencies, and landowners across Wyoming have worked to implement best management practices to restore or protect riparian areas, but many areas remain that need restoration or protection measures.  Activities such as proper grazing management, proper timber harvesting practices, proper planning of urban development, and establishing “no-mow” zones in urban parks all work to protect riparian areas.  Restoring degraded riparian areas may involve a wide variety of best management practices, including planting native species to re-vegetate the area, using natural materials to stabilize stream banks, and reshaping stream channels to restore stable geomorphology. 

 

Links to more information about Riparian Areas

Wyoming Game and Fish Department Riparian Information