Protect Our Water Jackson Hole - 2021 Annual Report

Page 1

2021 ANNUAL REPORT


2


TABLE OF CONTENTS

08 -

10 -

Water Quality Master Plan Project Approval

Water Quality Master Plan Scope of Work

12 -

14 -

16 -

18 -

Septic System Regulations

Save the Date: Rally for Clean Water

WildWalls Outreach

The Road Ahead: 2022


REFLECTION, REVIEW, AND TRANSITION A FAREWELL MESSAGE FROM THE OUTGOING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR After eight years in the Executive Director role, I will be leaving Protect Our Water Jackson Hole (POWJH) on February 28, 2022. I appreciate the opportunity to represent you. Together, we’ve made improving and protecting water quality one of the community’s leading priorities in Jackson Hole. It is a critical time for clean water. Unprecedented growth, a changing climate, and record visitation are real threats to the cold, clean water most take for granted. Through your continued support and generosity, we’ve laid the groundwork for a comprehensive planning effort in Teton County, WY that can protect water quality for future generations. As we transition into the next chapter in the leadership of POWJH, it will be exciting to see what will emerge in the coming months and years. Sincerely, Dan Leemon MOVING FORWARD WITH THE NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR First, thank you, Dan, for your leadership and commitment to clean water. Anyone familiar with the significant contributions and accomplishments of POWJH over the last eight years toward clean water in Teton County – which coincides with Dan’s time at its helm – knows that he was a constant and driving force throughout these initiatives. The programs can be attributed to Dan’s dedication and commitment to real improvements in water quality and the educational efforts necessary to achieve those improvements. We are incredibly proud of what POWJH has accomplished together over the years and look forward to continuing to lead the efforts for clean water. Momentum matters. 2021 was a tremendous year for POWJH as our supporters increased by 30%. I am looking forward to building on POWJH’s momentum in our road ahead. Our advocacy goals will continue to be to raise awareness further and continually drive supporters, policymakers, and funders to address water quality issues. Sincerely, Meghan Quinn

4


POWJH 2021 Annual Report


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

Chair Vice-Chair Secretary & Treasurer Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director Director

STAFF Dan Leemon Meghan Quinn Wendy Hagedorn

6

Executive Director (Outgoing) Executive Director (Effective Feb. ‘22) Communications & Marketing Director


OUR VISION CLEAN WATER NOW, AND FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS.

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

POWJH 2021 Annual Report


CELEBRATING THE APPROVAL OF THE TETON COUNTY WATER QUALITY MASTER PLAN PROJECT Teton County, WY has embarked on an unprecedented comprehensive water quality planning project that will improve our surface and groundwater resources and protect them from future degradation. POWJH has been the driving force behind this historic effort.

2019 In 2019, POWJH recognized that nearly every other mountain town resort community, except Jackson Hole, had a long-term wastewater plan to address treatment needs as the number of visitors and residents increased. POWJH appealed to our donors to help raise funds for a comprehensive wastewater plan for Teton County.

FEB 2020 POWJH submitted “A Proposal for Philanthropic Support for Comprehensive Wastewater Master Planning in Teton County, Wyoming” to the Teton County Commissioners for inclusion in the FY2021 budget.

MAR 2020 We initiated a Change.org petition in support of our wastewater planning proposal that generated nearly 2000 signatures. The Commissioners voted to approve first-year funding to start wastewater planning in Teton County, WY. In the original proposal, POWJH proposed to provide half of the expected cost of a comprehensive wastewater plan, up to $250,000 that we raised for the effort, with Teton County providing the remaining $250,000. After we submitted our initial proposal it became apparent COVID-19 may affect county budgets and we began negotiating with the Teton Conservation District (TCD) and Teton County staff to develop a unified approach to wastewater initiatives. POWJH and Teton County agreed to expand the scope of the planning effort to include comprehensive water quality planning addressing additional issues such as stormwater runoff, sedimentation, and E. coli.

8


MAY 2020 POWJH submitted a modified funding request to the Teton County Commissioners that included funding from TCD and phased in the total project cost over two years.

JUNE 2020 The Commissioners approved first-year funding to begin the comprehensive water quality planning process and included $500,000 in the FY2022 budget to fund the expanded planning effort.

JULY 2021 In cooperation with the project partners, Teton County released a Request for Qualifications to secure the services of a water quality consultant to lead the water quality planning effort.

AUG 2021 The selection committee, composed of staff from POWJH, Teton County, TCD, and the Town of Jackson, evaluated proposals, conducted interviews, and prepared a recommendation of Notice of Award for a consultant to lead the effort.

SEPT 2021 Teton County Commissioners approved Trihydro as the consultant to lead the Water Quality Master Plan project.

DEC 2021 The scope of work for the project was approved by the Commissioners at the total cost of $1.1MM.

JAN 2022 The kickoff meeting for the effort is scheduled and the project begins!

Thanks to your generosity and commitment to clean water we were able to leverage the original $250K in contributions you made for wastewater planning into a $1.1 million comprehensive water quality plan. The water quality planning effort will address not only contamination from wastewater sources but also includes other nonpoint sources of pollution such as stormwater runoff and landscape fertilizer.

POWJH 2021 Annual Report


2022 - 2023 TIMELINE

WATER QUALITY MASTER PLAN SCOPE OF WORK The Water Quality Master Plan (WQMP) project is a comprehensive scientific analysis and implementation plan that will identify known and possible threats to our groundwater and surface waters. 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 project partners include representatives from Teton County, Protect Our Water Jackson Hole, Teton Conservation District, and the Town of Jackson. Collectively, the partners chose Trihydro as the technical consultant to lead the project supported by Flitner Strategies for public engagement and stakeholder facilitation. 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

CHARAC ON FUTUR AND S CO CHARACTERIZE IMPACTS ON EXISTING GROUNDWATER AND SURFACE WATER CONDITIONS

VULNERABILITY ANALYSIS

SEPT - NOV JULY - DEC JAN - JULY

JAN 2022

PROJECT KICKOFF MEETING

10

MAY 2022

SEPT 2022

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION WORKSHOP

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION WORKSHOP

Project Overview; Small Wastewater Systems

Vulnerability analysis; Characterizing existing ground & surface water conditions


PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD PREPARE DRAFT WATER QUALITY MASTER PLAN IDENTIFY AND EVALUATE MITIGATION STRATEGIES

CTERIZE IMPACTS RE GROUNDWATER SURFACE WATER ONDITIONS

OCT - DEC MAY - NOV FEB - MAY DEC - FEB

JAN 2023

MAY 2023

SEPT 2023

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION WORKSHOP

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION WORKSHOP

Characterizing future ground & surface water conditions

Identifying mitigation strategies

DEC 2023

FINALIZE WATER QUALITY MASTER PLAN

POWJH 2021 Annual Report


SEPTIC SYSTEM REGULATIONS UPDATE Proper management of septic systems is of critical importance to our water resources. It is widely accepted that poor management can cause nutrient and microbial contamination to groundwater. Teton County’s Small Wastewater Facility (SWF) Regulations need to be stronger to protect our sole source aquifer. In May 2021, Teton County released proposed updates to the SWF (septic system) Regulations for public comment. POWJH took a leadership role to ensure the proposed rules protected drinking water and the environment. We advocated extending the Public Comment period from 45 to 60 days, as well as including a Public Meeting and a Public Hearing in the review process. POWJH also submitted detailed public comment on the revised rules.

Plumbing Vent

!

Septic Tank

Scum Scum

Well

Sludge

Septic Tank

Septic Tank Cobble, Gravel, Sand

Shallow Underground Aquifer

12

Deeper Groundwater Aquifer


Although the proposed updates to the regulations included some provisions to increase water quality protections, they did not go far enough. POWJH highlighted three primary concerns surrounding the updates we would like to see addressed; • The proposed updates only apply to new septic system permits. The regulations should apply to all existing systems, especially the system maintenance provisions. • The proposed rules did not address the need for a septic system inspection program. • The proposed rules did not sufficiently protect public drinking water because most Teton County public drinking water systems do not have Source Water Assessments or Protection Plans. Even though the Teton County Commissioners approved the revised regulations without the improvements suggested by POWJH, they did schedule a workshop in February 2022 to prioritize investigating septic system inspection, maintenance, and compliance programs. The Water Quality Master Plan process will also review POWJH’s concerns in detail.

!

!

Leachfield/Drainfield

Surface Waters (Creeks, Streams, Rivers)

Upwelling

k

Downwelling

Coarse soils = limited absorption & purification

POWJH 2021 Annual Report


2021 MURAL THEME: THE INVISIBLE RIVER POWJH partnered with Jackson Hole Public Art (JHPA), once again, for the second year of WILDWALLS – a highly visual and interactive summer 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. To extend the outreach possibilities of this engaging project, we’ve created videos over the past two years of each mural + the AR content that we continue to share. We now have 11 videos in the “Wild about Water Quality” series that have received over 36,000 views through social media and our YouTube channel. You can experience a virtual walking tour of this fun and engaging project by viewing the videos on the interactive map at: POWJH.ORG/WILDWALLS Stay tuned! We’ll be partnering with JHPA for WILDWALLS 2022 with exciting new additions! 14


“BELOW THE SURFACE” MURAL ARTIST: AVA REYNOLDS AR ANIMATION: OUREE LEE

Below: Screenshot of Augmented Reality animation as viewed via the smartphone app.

Did you know that most of the water in the Snake River is not in the visible river channel? – it flows underground through the cobble and gravel across the entire valley floor! Gravel-bed rivers support a fantastic diversity of life – from Bugs to Bears. Clean water is the foundation of the floodplain “immune system”, and the interaction between surface and groundwater is fundamental to the health of the Invisible River. Nutrient pollution from human sources degrades the water quality and impacts all species that rely on this critical ecosystem. POWJH 2021 Annual Report


RALLY FOR CLEAN WATER SEPTEMBER 8 TH, 2022 We invite you to join us for our first-ever Rally for Clean Water! This event will be an opportunity to bring the community together to raise awareness, discuss solutions, and inspire action for the most pressing water quality issues facing Teton County. POWJH will share science-based information in an engaging environment addressing our urgent need for local clean water initiatives. There will be fun and interactive exhibits for the whole family! 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. The Time to Protect Our Water is NOW!

16


SCAN THE QR CODE FOR ALL EVENT DETAILS!

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: DR. F. RICHARD (RIC) HAUER Ric is the lead scientist of the research team on a recently published study about “Invisible Rivers” and the importance of protecting water quality in gravel-bed river ecosystems from the effects caused by human impacts. Learn more about this compelling research at: POWJH.ORG/SNAKERIVER

POWJH 2021 Annual Report


THE ROAD AHEAD: 2022 Protect Our Water Jackson Hole not only identifies problems; we also solve them. POWJH will Educate, Accelerate, & Collaborate to solve Teton County water quality issues. POWJH is launching our 1st RALLY FOR CLEAN WATER on Thursday, September 8, 2022. Our educational outreach, including our successful partnership with JH Public Art for WILDWALLS, will be leading up to this important event. Teton County residents must understand how they can help preserve our vital water resources. We will continue to educate residents on how fertilizers, livestock, and pet waste pollute our waters and offer resources to better understand how septic maintenance and well testing are important steps in keeping our community’s water clean. POWJH has successfully raised funds to initiate the Teton County Water Quality Master Plan process. While the details will be provided at the completion of the planning effort, there is no doubt there will be infrastructure needed to address our community’s water quality issues. Our goal is to accelerate the implementation once this plan is completed. The funding of significant water and wastewater infrastructure will be costly and require public and private funding. We are now working with Teton County on this crucial next funding phase. There is the potential for a Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Special Purpose Excise Tax (SPET) Measure on the November 2022 ballot for which POWJH will be taking the lead. The State of Wyoming will receive $63MM each year for the next 5 years through the American Rescue Plan Act Infrastructure bill to invest in critical wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects. We are working at the State level to receive the much-needed funding for critical Teton County water and wastewater infrastructure. As the only nonprofit on the steering committee for Teton County’s Water Quality Master Plan, POWJH will collaborate with the County to ensure success. We are actively engaging the Town and County government to make sure that water quality issues remain at the forefront, and that this plan’s implementation is critical to success. POWJH’s goal is to collaborate with the Town and County to implement Best Practices for Clean Water for our community. Our collaboration will extend to Teton County Public Health with an outreach program about the importance of well testing.

18


POWJH 2021 Annual Report


THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT! Wow, a big Thank You! To say that this was a big year for water quality initiatives in Jackson Hole would be an understatement. Our supporters grew by 30%, and we doubled the amount raised from 2020. And for good reason. Water Quality is now a top 3 concern for Teton County residents. POWJH brought water to the forefront of our community. We continue to educate our community on how they can do their part and advocate for our County Elected to make water quality a top priority. We need to continue this momentum. We hope that you will consider continuing to support POWJH as we work to implement science-based and collaborative solutions to our most pressing water quality problems. We simply cannot do it without you. Your generous support will make a real, lasting impact on water quality in Teton County.

To make a tax-deductible contribution, visit our website POWJH.org/donate or mail to: P.O. Box 1014, Wilson, WY 83014

SCAN TO DONATE

Lastly, contact your local officials – let them know that protecting our water is essential to you and should be a top priority!

ADMINISTRATION:

10%

FUNDRAISING:

14%

PROGRAM EXPENSES:

76%

20


WORDS FROM OUR BOARD MEMBERS “I have a history of fishing the same property here for nearly 35 years. I’ve watched the results of declining water quality in the creek, particularly over the last 10 years. I believe POWJH can help the rest of our community understand that there is a major water quality problem unfolding in our valley.” BOB PETERS

“I know that this problem has developed over decades. I realize that the solutions will take time as well, but I hope that I will witness the beginning of improvement to our local water quality for future generations.” BOB PAULSON

“POWJH is dedicated to bringing the entire community, leaders, and government agencies together to learn about and care for our water resources. It will take all of us as individuals and as a collective to protect and restore our waters and I believe POWJH will be the trusted, guiding force in that effort.” KERRI RATCLIFFE

“I founded Rendezvous River Sports and am on the river almost daily. The changes I’ve noticed with algae blooms and general water quality are troubling.” AARON PRUZAN

POWJH 2021 Annual Report


22


THE TIME IS NOW TO PROTECT OUR WATER, JACKSON HOLE Get involved at powjh.org

SCAN TO LEARN MORE


WWW.PROTECTOURWATERJH.ORG

(307) 413-1776 | P.O. BOX 1014, WILSON, WY 83014 24


Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.