Protect Our Water Jackson Hole - 2022 Annual Report

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2022 ANNUAL
REPORT
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INTRO EDUCATION & OUTREACH CLOSING ADVOCACY COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS Water Quality SPET Measure #15: Teton County Water Quality Projects Wyoming State Lands Development on Fish Creek Water Quality Master Plan Town of Jackson Wastewater Treatment Plant Review Hoback Clean Water Initiative Hoback Water and Sewer District Formation Rally for Clean Water Tap into Science WildWalls Candidate Campaign & Forum EPA Environmental Education Grant THE ROAD AHEAD: 2023 Thank you for your support! TABLE OF CONTENTS 02 Message from the Executive Director Mission & Vision Values 03 05 06 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 20 21 22 07 08 09 10

LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

POWJH 2022 success has been incredible! We created momentum, and action, to protect and restore our water resources. While 2022 was impactful, we believe 2023 will be the year of water quality! We are so grateful for your support.

Teton County residents have seen our actions and witnessed our success. Our community is now asking for more, and we are ready to accelerate our efforts. With your ongoing support, we can continue moving forward with our dedicated efforts toward protecting and improving water quality in Teton County. Clean water is essential for our community. We will continue to raise awareness in the community and inspire immediate action.

Let’s keep the momentum going!

With so much gratitude,

INTRO 03

ABOUT US

BOARD MEMBERS

Brad Nielson

Bob Peters

Valerie Brown

Ken Taylor

Bob Paulson

Les Gibson

Reynolds Pomeroy

Kristin Revill

Perk Perkins

Aaron Pruzan

Kerri Ratcliffe

Anne Ladd

Dan Heilig

Bob Frodeman

Kathryn Steele

Kay Modi

Bill Mulligan

Lisa Franzen

STAFF MEMBERS

Meghan Quinn

Matt Bambach

Wendy Hagedorn

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Chair Vice-Chair Secretary, Treasurer Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Executive Director Water Resources Program Manager
& Marketing Director
Communications

VISION

CLEAN WATER NOW, AND FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

TO SERVE AS A POWERFUL ADVOCATE FOR PROTECTING AND RESTORING THE SURFACE WATERS AND GROUNDWATER IN TETON COUNTY, WYOMING.

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MISSION INTRO

VALUES

SCIENCE-BASED

We rely on facts and make science accessible and understandable to all.

COLLABORATIVE

We are effective and result-focused, knowing that we must all work together to ensure clean water.

DEDICATED

Our only priority is to protect and restore water quality in Teton County.

FORWARD THINKING

We stay up to date on current research and offer innovative solutions.

COMMUNITY ADVOCATE

We educate the public and electeds about best practices for water quality protection and restoration.

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WATER QUALITY MASTER PLAN

A critical initiative toward clean water is moving forward. POWJH has been the driving force behind this historic effort. In January 2022, we launched the Water Quality Master Plan (WQMP) in partnership with Teton County, Teton Conservation District, and the Town of Jackson. Collectively, the Project Team chose Trihydro as the technical consultant to lead the effort, supported by Flitner Strategies for public engagement and stakeholder facilitation.

The WQMP is a comprehensive scientific analysis and implementation plan that will identify known and possible threats to our water resources. It will outline detailed mitigation strategies that provide a clear set of roles and responsibilities for the various local entities that oversee water resources management.

The WQMP will address management of wastewater, drinking water, stormwater and nonpoint source pollution, and water resources for wildlife and recreation. The scope of work also calls for community outreach & education, stakeholder engagement, and public input.

COMPILE AND REVIEW EXISTING WATER QUALITY DATA INFORMATION

CHARACTERIZE IMPACTS ON EXISTING GROUNDWATER AND SURFACE WATER CONDITIONS

COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS JAN 2022 SEPT 2022 MAY 2022
VULNERABILITY ANALYSIS JAN - JULY JULY - DEC SEPT - NOV 07

Throughout 2022, the Project Team held a series of stakeholder meetings, a Board of County Commissioners workshop, and a Cooperating Agency meeting.

The WQMP process has now moved into its fourth stage — identifying and evaluating mitigation strategies. Trihydro completed a data summary. A final report of findings, including the Vulnerability & Sensitivity Analysis and the Current & Future Conditions report, is under review by the Project Team and will be completed by Summer 2023.

Next steps will then include preparation of a WQMP draft, a public meeting, and a public comment period. The WQMP is scheduled to be completed in January 2024.

TOWN OF JACKSON WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT REVIEW

In early 2022, POWJH accepted an invitation from the Town of Jackson as a stakeholder to review a comprehensive, third-party study of their wastewater treatment plant. The study included regulatory requirements, capacity assessments, as well as potential improvements and upgrades.

In October 2022, POWJH also reviewed and weighed in heavily on the 5-year discharge permit renewal for the plant. We provided extensive comments to further restrict effluent from entering the Snake River.

IDENTIFY AND EVALUATE MITIGATION STRATEGIES

JAN 2023 MAY 2023 SEPT 2023 JAN 2024
DEC - FEB FEB - MAY 08 FINALIZE WATER QUALITY MASTER PLAN PREPARE DRAFT WATER QUALITY MASTER PLAN PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD JAN MAY - NOV OCT - DEC

HOBACK CLEAN WATER INITIATIVE

Funded by a grant from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, POWJH launched the Hoback Clean Water Initiative in November 2022 to provide free clean drinking water delivery to Hoback residents as a short-term solution while permanent water quality solutions are worked out. There are potential health impacts if well water is contaminated and has elevated nitrate levels.

THE PROGRAM INCLUDES —

• A drinking water dispenser

• Free delivery of 5-gallon water bottles every other week

• Up to 5 bottles per delivery

COMMUNITY SOLUTIONS
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HOBACK WATER AND SEWER DISTRICT FORMATION

During Summer 2022, POWJH board member Robert Frodeman led a campaign to collect petition signatures to form a Hoback Water and Sewer District that was submitted to Teton County in August.

In October 2022, the Teton County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the petition.

In February 2023, POWJH requested that the State of Wyoming allow the Hoback Water and Sewer District to apply for an Intended Use Permit before district voting was completed. Without POWJH advocating, the district would have to wait another year to be eligible for funding. Of the 200 projects submitted to the State Revolving Fund, the Hoback Water and Sewer project has been ranked 14th on the list. POWJH was successful in accelerating funding for clean water in Hoback.

In February 2023, Hoback residents voted 35-0 to establish a water and sewer district to help address their water quality concerns.

Hoback residents are united behind efforts to fix their chronic water quality problems. Forming a district gives Hoback residents a necessary tool to begin addressing the issue. A district can levy taxes to pay off low-interest state loans, apply for state grants to build water and sewer infrastructure, and look for federal grants to fund projects.

In Fall 2022, with a grant from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, POWJH also helped to fund a Level II water analysis of the Hoback Junction area. The Level II analysis is set for completion in December 2023. This study will identify options for correcting Hoback water problems and estimate costs. This analysis will make it possible to apply for Level III construction funding at the state and federal levels.

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WATER QUALITY SPET MEASURE

In early 2022, POWJH saw an opportunity for a water quality Specific Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) measure to fund the immediate priorities of the Water Quality Master Plan (WQMP). However, many thought our elected officials would not approve a water quality SPET.

We met with, presented to, educated, and convinced our town and county elected officials that water should be one of the top SPET ballot priorities. In June 2022, the Town Council and County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve a $10MM Water Quality SPET measure on the November ballot.

We then actively engaged to educate the community on why they should vote FOR Proposition #15: Teton County Water Quality Projects SPET.

Our outreach shared that Teton County already faces water quality impairments in Fish and Flat Creeks and drinking water issues around Hoback Junction. With the funding, our community would have an opportunity to prioritize clean water and reduce water pollution. Two specific projects addressed in the proposition included;

• Removing aging septic systems polluting the Fish Creek watershed by connecting them to the Wilson Sewer District.

• Stopping sediment, trash, and oil and grease from the 5 gas stations that line Broadway from polluting Flat Creek by installing stormwater systems.

Ultimately, the $10MM Water Quality SPET was the most supported ballot measure, not only in 2022 – but ever!

80% of voters

supported the proposition, the greatest approval in SPET history.

Your vote is your voice, and it was loud and clear – Teton County residents want clean water.

To learn more, visit: POWJH.ORG/SPET

ADVOCACY 11

#15: Teton County Water Quality Projects

$10,000,000 to fund water quality projects that will protect and improve surface and groundwater resources in Teton County, such as the Wilson sewer project, the Town of Jackson stormwater pollution prevention project, and projects to be identified in the Teton County Water Quality Master Plan (WQMP). This project is sponsored by Teton County.

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WYOMING STATE LANDS

POWJH advocated fiercely for the State of Wyoming to prioritize water quality and adhere to regulations on WY State Trust Land at the headwaters of Fish Creek. We halted construction of a commercial wastewater facility on Site 9 of the Teton Village state land parcel:

• In June 2022, the Office of State Lands and Investments (OSLI) issued a temporary use permit to Mountain Ventures/Basecamp Hospitality, LLC (Basecamp) to develop a geodesic dome hotel “glamping” complex on state trust lands in Teton County, WY.

• In October 2022, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) authorized the construction and operation of a commercial wastewater system.

• In November 2022, POWJH challenged the WDEQ and filed a petition with the 9th Judicial District Court of Teton County, WY for review of agency action.

• In January 2023, the court issued a motion for a stay of enforcement, with the WDEQ not opposing this action, halting all construction of Basecamp’s operations.

Fish Creek is a highly protected Class 1 surface waters already suffering water quality impairment from E. coli discharged from other septic systems in the watershed. Class 1 Waters are typically afforded the greatest regulatory protection by the Environmental Protection Agency and the WDEQ, but that did not happen with the construction of this commercial wastewater system in this watershed.

The temporary use permit expressly required Basecamp to “observe all state, federal, and local laws and regulations.” However, in the short time the project was in existence, Basecamp demonstrated a history of noncompliance and was not adhering to the water or land protections they promised in their permit application.

While the WDEQ has revoked this wastewater permit, they can still reissue a revised individual wastewater permit. WDEQ has said they will start a public process for that permit, with the option for the public to weigh in — and a public meeting.

POWJH will continue to ensure water quality is protected in this sensitive watershed.

ADVOCACY
Geodesic dome hotel complex on state trust lands near Teton Village in Teton County, WY. (November 2022)
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View northeast of leachfield mound fill adjacent to and likely into surface water/wetland complex. (November 16, 2022). Photo: Courtesy of Alder Environmental

DEVELOPMENT ON FISH CREEK

POWJH actively engaged to halt a large development planning to subdivide 65 acres and add 5 septic systems on Fish Creek.

Besides being a prized coldwater fishery, all waters within the Fish Creek drainage and adjacent wetlands have been designated as Class 1 surface waters by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. The Class 1 designation affords the highest level of protection under the Wyoming Environmental Quality Act and the federal Clean Water Act, which refers to such waters as “Outstanding National Resource Waters.”

Concerned about the water quality impacts in this sensitive watershed, we provided public comment addressing development plans that conflict with the Teton County, WY Comprehensive Plan, and Land Development Regulations, and pose negative impacts to the Fish Creek watershed – already designated an impaired waterway due to E. coli fecal contamination. The Teton County Board of Commissioners voted to halt this development.

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RALLY FOR CLEAN WATER

In September 2022, we held our first-ever RALLY FOR CLEAN WATER at the Center for the Arts, which was a great success! This free event brought the community together to raise awareness, discuss solutions, and inspire action for the water quality issues facing Teton County with fun, interactive, and science-based lobby exhibits for the whole family.

In the theater, POWJH Executive Director, Meghan Quinn, presented “The State of Water in Teton County.” Our Keynote speaker, Dr. F. Richard (Ric) Hauer, shared his knowledgeable and powerful message about the importance of protecting water quality in gravel-bed river ecosystems, like the Snake River, from the effects caused by human impacts. Ric is the preeminent scholar about “Invisible Rivers” and preserving water quality in gravel-bed floodplains that support our entire ecosystem.

Watch recordings of these presentations at: POWJH.ORG/RALLY

EDUCATION & OUTREACH
15 HO TETONRANGE FLAT TETON VILLAGE WILSON TOWN OF JACKSON HOBACK JUNCTION SNAKERIVER SNAKERIVER GROSVE CACHECR FLAT CR E KE SNAKERIVER FISHCREEK MOSQUITOCREEK COTTONWOODCREEKTAYLOR CREEK PORCU GAME CREEK SNAKE RIVER WWW.POWJH.ORG FALLCREEK HOBACK DEVELOPMENT In the past, the Snake River dilute the pollution from population. Now, Teton and record tourism over having a profound impact DROUGHT In 1949, the State of Wyoming signed the Snake River Compact in which the waters of the Snake River were allocated for storage or direct diversion as follows: To Idaho................................ 96 percent To Wyoming.......................... 4 percent To this day, the water rights to the Jackson Lake Dam remain attached to farmlands in Idaho. TOWN OF JACKSON WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT Increasing numbers of year-round residents and unprecedented visitor numbers has put Teton County in the position to treat the waste from millions of people with wastewater treatment infrastructure from the 1970s.

CLEAN WATER

For long-term water protection, we need broad awareness and cooperation amongst individuals, businesses, elected officials, and visitors. Learn more about the future of clean water in Jackson Hole, what factors make this a critical issue that requires our immediate attention, and what you can do to help. As a headwaters community, Jackson Hole could become a shining example of forward-thinking water quality solutions.

The Time to Protect Our Water is NOW!

RSECREEK FLAT CREEK HOBACK JUNCTION ENTRERIVER REEK SHEEP CREEK NOWLINCREEK PINECREEK HOBACK RIVER River watershed could Teton County’s small County’s rapid growth the last 5 years is impact on water quality.
SCAN TO STAY INFORMED ABOUT 2023 EVENT DETAILS! 16
THE DATE! Join us at our 2023 RALLY FOR CLEAN WATER THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2023 The Center for the Arts
SAVE

TAP INTO SCIENCE

POWJH launched a monthly water education series in July 2022 in partnership with Snake River Brewing called TAP INTO SCIENCE. It is a free monthly event series featuring presentations by local scientists where you can relax and learn about science related to our community’s water resources. The goal is to promote enthusiasm for education in a fun and casual atmosphere. And, if you want to enjoy an award-winning beer while you do so, the Brewpub is the perfect place!

To stay informed about upcoming presentations, visit: POWJH.ORG/TAP-INTO-SCIENCE

EDUCATION & OUTREACH EDUCATION & OUTREACH
You don’t have to be a science geek — all you need is a thirst for knowledge!
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POWJH partnered once again with Jackson Hole Public Art for the 3rd annual WILDWALLS – a highly visual and interactive event that brings the art and science communities together for an engaging educational experience.

WILDWALLS is a series of murals around town paired with Augmented Reality (AR) animated features directed by partnering scientists and nonprofits and activated via a smartphone app that brings the murals to life! The AR content provided by POWJH promotes a greater understanding of the water quality issues facing our community and shares proactive solutions.

POWJH had 3 murals + AR on display from May to September 2022. With an exciting new addition, the event kicked off with a live steamroller printmaking party where a large-scale hand-carved woodblock representing the science behind the “Invisible River” (Hauer et al) was printed using a construction drum roller and sold at an auction that day.

“Wind,Earth,Water!”

Mural artist: Mae Orm

AR animation: Kika Macfarlane

“Protect Our Water, Damn It!”

Woodblock Print artist: Ben Roth

AR animation: Kika Macfarlane

Experience this fun and engaging project by viewing videos on the interactive map at: POWJH.ORG/WILDWALLS

“Backyard” Mural artist: Nicolette Maw • AR animation: Kika Macfarlane
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CANDIDATE CAMPAIGN

Leading up to the local November 2022 election, POWJH talked with candidates for Town Council, County Commissioner, and Wyoming State Senate and House of Representatives about how they planned to prioritize water quality, alongside other community needs, once they are in office.

POWJH compiled the candidates’ responses in videos to help educate voters on the topic. All candidates to appear on the local ballot were invited to participate.

Long-term water resource planning is a political exercise in which our local elected officials must play a role – both through awareness and action.

Hear what candidates had to say at: POWJH.ORG/VOTE

CANDIDATE FORUM

In October 2022, POWJH held the only candidate forum focused on conservation in partnership with the Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance. Candidates for Town Council and County Commission were invited to share their perspectives on how they would address the changes and challenges that face Jackson Hole residents, the water, the wildlife, and the wild places we cherish. Spanish translation was provided.

EDUCATION & OUTREACH
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EPA ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION GRANT

In December 2022, POWJH received a nearly $100,000 EPA Environmental Education grant. We also received a $26,000 matching grant from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole.

This community education program will educate students and adults in Teton County. We will educate 810 students in Teton County over 2 years on the importance of maintaining clean drinking water. 6th-grade students at Jackson Hole Middle School will complete a Water Awareness Program, including in-class lessons and outdoor field trip activities. Workbooks will include Spanish translation. 9th-grade Integrated Science and AP Environmental Science students at Jackson Hole High School will learn about water quality and how to take field water quality measurements – specifically how to test for nitrates. Students will organize and advertise one drinking water testing event per year at the high school where they provide free well testing kits and instruct adult community members on how to complete the test.

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THE ROAD AHEAD: 2023

Teton County residents have made it clear that water quality is one of the highest priorities for our community. With 80% of voters supporting the Water Quality SPET Measure – the most supported SPET measure in history – POWJH is now mandated to ensure that Teton County achieves the highest water quality for our community.

With that in mind, the Water Quality Master Plan (WQMP) Project Team is working diligently to develop a comprehensive implementation plan, and the progress to date heartens POWJH. Although the WQMP is progressing well, population growth and the pace of development have not halted during this planning process and continue to exacerbate our water quality issues.

Therefore, while some actions will need to wait for the completion of the WQMP, POWJH is pressing for specific measures that can and should be implemented now. POWJH is advocating to implement governance, regulatory, and critical infrastructure measures to curb further water quality degradation in Teton County.

In addition, The WQMP team has acknowledged the lack of water quality monitoring data in Teton County. Being one to take action, POWJH is taking a lead role in a Snake River watershed monitoring program to better understand pollutants in the Snake River and its tributaries. This is a significant undertaking involving many partners, but we are excited to be the catalyst in establishing this critical monitoring program for Teton County.

CLOSING 21

POWJH understands the value of education. Our education on water quality issues has certainly moved voters. This year we are also focusing on our younger generation. With a significant grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, POWJH has created a water quality awareness curriculum for 6th and 9th graders. We will take it one step further by teaching the Advanced Placement Environmental Science class how to advocate and educate our community on water quality. This class will do community outreach and host a drinking water well testing program.

Lastly, we are thrilled to not only be hosting our 2nd Rally for Clean Water on September 21, 2023, but also a Jackson Hole Water Symposium to educate influential leaders in our community about water quality issues and how they can help protect and restore our vital water resources.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

ADMINISTRATION: 10% PROGRAM EXPENSES: 85% FUNDRAISING:
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