|David Waterstreet, Program Manager||Watershed Program||307-777-6709|
|Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 401 Certification and Turbidity Waivers|
|Eric Hargett (Cheyenne)||CWA Section 401 Certification, Turbidity Waivers||307-777-6701|
|Data Quality Assurance and Quality Control (QA/QC)|
|Jillian Scott (Cheyenne)||Data QA/QC||307-777-6372|
|Nonpoint Source Pollution Program|
|Alexandria Jeffers (Cheyenne)||Nonpoint Source Program||307-777-6733|
|Surface Water Monitoring Program|
|Jeremy Zumberge, Program Supervisor (Sheridan)||Surface Water Monitoring Program||307-675-5638|
|Tavis Eddy (Lander)||Surface Water Monitoring Program||307-335-6957|
|Eric Hargett (Cheyenne)||Surface Water Monitoring Program||307-777-6701|
|Jason Martineau (Sheridan)||Surface Water Monitoring Program||307-675-5632|
|Triston Rice (Cheyenne)||Surface Water Monitoring Program||307-777-6353|
|Chad Rieger (Sheridan)||Surface Water Monitoring Program||307-675-5637|
|Michael Wachtendonk (Lander)||Surface Water Monitoring Program||307-335-6751|
|Surface Water Quality Standards|
|Lindsay Patterson, Program Supervisor (Cheyenne)||Surface Water Quality Standards||307-777-7079|
|Kelsee Hurschman (Cheyenne)||Surface Water Quality Standards, Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms||307-777-2073|
|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 Lab||307-777-7654|
|Alexandra Cook (Cheyenne)||Water Quality Lab||307-777-7151|
|Marisa Latady (Cheyenne)||Water Quality Lab||307-777-6783|
|Vacant (Cheyenne)||Water Quality Lab||307-777-3770|
Wyoming’s surface water quality standards currently only include narrative criteria to protect designated uses from nutrient pollution. Numeric nutrient criteria, concentrations of nitrogen and/or phosphorus and response variables such as chlorophyll a, are expected to more effectively protect Wyoming’s surface waters because they can be used to more consistently: identify waters that are meeting water quality criteria and need to be protected; identify waters that are not meeting water quality criteria and need to be restored; establish restoration targets for waters that are not meeting water quality criteria; and develop effluent limits for point sources.
Wyoming’s Plan to Develop Numeric Nutrient Criteria
In 2008, WDEQ and Tetratech developed the Wyoming Nutrient Criteria Development Plan. The plan summarized existing data, identified a general framework for developing and adopting criteria, prioritized lakes and reservoirs, and established timelines to achieve milestones. During development of the 2017 Wyoming Nutrient Strategy, the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group provided additional input on how to prioritize waters for numeric nutrient criteria development; WDEQ incorporated this and other changes into the 2018 Wyoming Nutrient Criteria Development Plan.
Current Status of Numeric Criteria Development – Wyoming Basin Lakes and Reservoirs
WDEQ is currently focused on developing numeric criteria for small to mid-sized lakes and reservoirs in south-central Wyoming (i.e., Wyoming Basin). The criteria are intended to protect aquatic life and have been derived primarily using a stressor-response approach corroborated with other lines of evidence. WDEQ has drafted a technical support document (TSD) describing the analyses, results, and recommendations for numeric criteria. The TSD recently underwent external peer review. WDEQ is in the process of evaluating the reviews, and will be updating the analyses, recommendations, and document as necessary. WDEQ plans to share the TSD with the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group. Following review by the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group, WDEQ will begin the process of formally adopting the criteria into Wyoming’s surface water quality standards.
Other Lakes and Reservoirs Prioritized for Numeric Criteria Development in the Short-Term
WDEQ anticipates developing numeric nutrient criteria for the following lakes and reservoirs in the short-term: Bighorn Basin lakes and reservoirs, Boysen Reservoir, Southeast Wyoming lakes and reservoirs, and Seminoe Reservoir. Additional details are included in the 2018 Wyoming Nutrient Criteria Development Plan.
Data Compilation and Collection Efforts
As an initial step in developing numeric nutrient criteria, WDEQ and Tetratech compiled the Wyoming Nutrient Database in 2008 to store nutrient and associated variable data. Since that time, WDEQ has updated the database with additional lake and reservoir data, identified data gaps, developed sampling and analysis plans to fill data gaps, and collected additional data on lakes and reservoirs an annual basis since 2013. Sampling and analysis plans describing WDEQ’s data collection efforts on lakes and reservoirs are included in the “Resources” at the bottom of this page. In addition, as part of the WDEQ/USGS Cooperative Monitoring Network, quarterly or monthly nutrient data collections were initiated in 2015 at USGS gages on major tributaries to and outlets from a handful of large reservoirs.
WDEQ’s Monitoring Program has also collected nutrient related data at both new and previously monitored stream and river sites. This has included over 200 probabilistic sites as part of the Bighorn/Yellowstone, Northeast, Green, and Platte superbasin surveys conducted in 2010, 2011, 2015 and 2016, respectively. Additional monitoring as part of targeted studies for designated use support, effectiveness of best management practice, TMDL development, reference site re-visits, and new reference site identification has also occurred annually on multiple streams and rivers since 2007. Details regarding this monitoring can be found in the Monitoring Program’s Surface Water Monitoring Strategy and Annual Work Plans.
The Wyoming-Nutrient-Strategy identifies priority items and next steps to address nutrient pollution in Wyoming’s surface waters from the following four areas:
Activities conducted in 2021 are summarized in the Addressing Nutrient Pollution in Wyoming Surface Waters: 2021 Year in Review Story Map. 2021 Year in Review (3/24/2022 Webinar). A 2020 Story Map is also available.
A subset of priorities for 2022 were identified from the broader strategy. DEQ and the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group will update the strategy and annual priorities as needed.”
Priority Watershed for Nutrient Strategy Implementation: The Boysen Initiative
Boysen Reservoir was selected as the priority for implementing proactive point and nonpoint source nutrient reductions due to its importance for recreation, use as a public water supply, and the risk posed to these uses by recurring cyanobacterial blooms in the reservoir.
The Boysen Initiative aims to protect public health and improve recreational experiences in Boysen Reservoir by decreasing cyanobacterial blooms through a reduction in nutrient contributions to the reservoir.
To sign up for the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group listserv, please click here.
The Wyoming Nutrient Work Group (WNWG) is a comprehensive set of stakeholders that assists Wyoming DEQ in addressing nutrient pollution in Wyoming's surface waters. The WNWG includes representatives from agriculture, industry, municipalities, water and wastewater management, land and resource management agencies, the environment, and members of the public. The group is helping to develop and implement the Wyoming Nutrient Strategy as well as providing input on development and implementation of numeric nutrient criteria.
A summary of the group, as well as meeting summaries and notes, can be downloaded below.
To sign up for the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group listserv, please click here.
For more information about the WNWG, please contact:
Nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), in appropriate amounts, are essential to healthy aquatic ecosystems. Excessive nutrients, or nutrient pollution, however, can result in excessive growth of aquatic plants, algae, and cyanobacteria that can lead to harmful cyanobacterial blooms, oxygen depletion, high pH, fish kills, and general degradation of aquatic resources.
Nutrient pollution can therefore impact the use of surface waters for drinking water, aquatic life, recreation, livestock, and wildlife. Click here to see maps of nutrient conditions in Wyoming’s streams and rivers and lakes and reservoirs.
DEQ, with the assistance of the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group, has developed the Wyoming Nutrient Strategy to identify priority items and next steps for addressing nutrient pollution in Wyoming’s surface waters. Priorities include development and implementation of numeric nutrient criteria; proactive nutrient reduction efforts in priority watersheds, and working with the Wyoming Department of Health, the Wyoming Livestock Board, and other stakeholders to evaluate and respond to potential harmful cyanobacterial blooms.
Lindsay Patterson, Program Supervisor (Cheyenne)
Surface Water Quality Standards