Water Quality Improvement Projects

Learn more about Water Quality Improvement Projects undertaken by Teton Conservation District (TCD), in collaboration with partners. Over the past decade, TCD has worked to monitor and improve overall water quality in water bodies, wetlands, and groundwater throughout Teton County. Benefits to the public and the environment continue to accrue from these efforts.

 
 
  Sediment deposition in the Karns Meadow Stormwater Wetland.

Sediment deposition in the Karns Meadow Stormwater Wetland.

Karns Meadow Stormwater Treatment Wetland

The purpose of the Karns  Meadow Stormwater Treatment Wetland Project is to significantly improve the physical and chemical quality of urban runoff entering Flat Creek on Karns Meadow. The Project treats stormwater from three sources, collecting runoff from up to 27% of the Town of Jackson. This includes areas that contribute disproportionate amounts of sediment and associated road-derived salt, metals, and hydrocarbons; in particular, snow removed from all Town-owned streets that is stored on the Rodeo Grounds adjacent to Karns Meadow. This runoff results in elevated pollutant loading from this site. The Stormwater Wetland, which is visible from the corner of Snowking and Flat Creek Drive consists of a series of sedimentation and wetland basins to remove pollutants. These specific sediment basins within the series of ponds are cleaned periodically to maintain their pollutant removal capacity.

TCD partners on this project included: Town of Jackson, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Jackson Hole OneFly, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Jackson Hole Trout Unlimited, Jackson Hole Ducks Unlimited, Intermountain Aquatics, Inc., and Alder Environmental LLC.


Fish Creek Residential Wastewater Treatment Wetland Demonstration Project

 The TCD and Intermountain Aquatics, Inc. tested the use of a small artificial wetland to enhance treatment of wastewater from a single family home in Wilson, Wyoming. The recirculating vertical flow (RVF) wetland was installed between the existing septic tank and leachfield. It was constructed in the fall of 2009 and planted, instrumented for data collection, and put into service in the spring of 2010. Performance was monitored from June 2010 to June 2011. Future application of advanced waste treatment systems in areas with high groundwater may play an important in controlling water contamination.

TCD partners on this project included: Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Teton County Engineering Department, and Intermountain Aquatics.


Characterization of Fish Creek:Groundwater/Surface-Water Interaction, Water Quality, and Aquatic Biota

fish creek report.jpg

Fish Creek, an approximately 15-mile long tributary of the Snake River, is located in western Wyoming near the Town of Wilson. Local residents began observing an increase in the growth of algae and aquatic plants in Fish Creek in the early 2000's. To more fully understand the hydrologic system and the possible relation to aquatic life in the stream, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with TCD, began conducting a sequential series of studies to better understand spring inputs, water chemistry and biological health along Fish Creek. 

Study Phases (reports from these studies are available below):

  • Water inflow/outflow (seepage) investigation
  • Using heat as a tracer to determine groundwater/surface-water interaction
  • Characterization of aquatic plant and macroinvertebrate communities, and water quality
  • Nutrient Loading Study

TCD project Partners include: USGS, Wyoming Water Science Center, Jackson Hole OneFly, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, and Friends of Fish Creek.

Estimated Nitrogen and Phosphorous Inputs to the Fish Creek Watershed, Teton County, Wyoming, 2009-15

This study used data provided for each unique nutrient source (atmospheric deposition, fertilizer applications, septic and sewer systems, livestock, diversions from the Snake River, and explosives) to quantify inputs to the watershed using a spatial approach. This will allow stakeholders to better apply time and and energy for the greatest public benefit. It will also allow the success of Best Management Practice implementation to be measured by directly relating nutrient reduction to total nutrient loads.

fish creek characterization.jpg

Characterization of Water Quality and Biological Communities, 2007-11

The first objective of this study was to evaluate nutrient concentrations, and the biological indicators of eutrophication. Potential sources of nutrients were identified using stable isotope analysis and other indicator chemicals such as caffeine and disinfectants. This can provide evidence of anthropogenic sources, such as wastewater or septic tank contamination in Fish Creek and adjacent groundwater. The second objective was to characterize the algal, macrophyte, and macroinvertebrate communities and habitat of Fish Creek. 

Characterization of Interactions between Surface Water and Near-Stream Groundwater along Fish Creek, Teton County, Wyoming, by Using Heat as a Tracer

The study has two main objectives: (1) develop an improved spatial and temporal understanding of water flow (fluxes) between the stream and groundwater; and, (2) use a two-dimensional groundwater-flow and heat-transport model to interpret observed temperature and hydraulic-head distributions, thus informing groundwater flow near Fish Creek. The study is intended to augment hydrologic information derived from previously published results of the seepage investigation on Fish Creek. Seepage measurements provide spatially averaged gains and losses over an entire stream reach for one point in time. Whereas, continuous temperature and water-level measurements provide continuous estimates of gain and loss at a specific location on a stream. 

Seepage Investigation on Selected Reaches of Fish Creek, Teton County, Wyoming, 2004

The purpose of this report is to present the results of the seepage (inflow/outflow) investigation on Fish Creek during August 17-19 and November 3-4, 2004. The discharge measurements at 20 sites, which include 14 mainstem sites, 2 return flow sites, 1 spring, 2 tributary sites, and 1 diversion site, are presented. The calculated streamflow gains and losses attributed to ground water along six reaches of Fish Creek also are presented.