Wyoming Nutrient Work Group 2018 Planning and Update

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality  | view as a webpage

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

Wyoming Nutrient Work Group 2018 Planning and Update

Opportunities to Provide Feedback

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (WDEQ) has developed draft 2018 priorities for implementation of the Wyoming Nutrient Strategy. WDEQ intends to focus on these aspects of the Wyoming Nutrient Strategy during 2018. WDEQ has also revised the Wyoming Nutrient Criteria Development Plan to include feedback and guidance provided by the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group during development of the Wyoming Nutrient Strategy. WDEQ is hoping that members of the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group will review the draft priorities and the Wyoming Nutrient Criteria Development Plan and provide feedback to Lindsay Patterson at Lindsay.Patterson@wyo.gov or 307-777-7079 by February 28, 2018. Once we have reviewed the feedback, we will make any necessary changes, post the final 2018 priorities on the Wyoming Nutrient Strategy webpage and the Nutrient Criteria Development Plan on the numeric nutrient criteria webpage. We will notify the Nutrient Work Group when these documents have been finalized.

Updates

Rulemaking to Allow for Discharger Specific Variances

The Water Quality Division will present proposed changes to the Water Quality Rules and Regulations, Chapter 1, Wyoming Surface Water Quality Standards, regarding discharger specific variances, to the Environmental Quality Council on February 21, 2018 at the Herschler Building Room 1699, 122 W 25th Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming, commencing at 10:00 AM. The written comments period closed at 5:00 pm on February 2, 2018. Information regarding the proposed rule is available on the Water Quality Division’s proposed rules and regulations page as well as the Environmental Quality Council docket.

Boysen Reservoir Watershed Nutrient Strategy

WDEQ has begun the process of compiling the available nutrient and response data in the Boysen Reservoir watershed. The goal of the data compilation is to identify the currently available data, summarize the data, identify potential sources and loading of nutrients to the reservoir, and identify data gaps. Once the data compilation is complete, WDEQ plans to outreach to stakeholders in the watershed to determine next steps.

Wyoming Basin Lakes Numeric Nutrient Criteria

External peer review of the Wyoming Basin Lakes technical support document is currently underway. We have received two reviews and are awaiting one other. The remaining reviewer has until approximately the end of March to provide feedback. Once all of the reviews are received, WDEQ will evaluate the feedback and make any necessary changes to the analysis and document. Eric Hargett will be sharing the results of the analyses completed to date at the upcoming Western Numeric Nutrient Criteria Workshop in San Francisco in May. WDEQ is hoping to share the proposed recommendations and a draft of the technical support document with the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group sometime this fall or early in 2019. 

Changes to Numeric Nutrient Criteria Webpage

While revising the Wyoming Nutrient Criteria Development Plan, it became clear that we had not been communicating all the work we have done and are doing toward numeric nutrient criteria development, particularly related to data collection. To help provide additional information, we recently posted the sampling and analysis plans that DEQ developed for the 2013 - 2017 sampling seasons. We also updated the text of the numeric nutrient criteria page to better reflect the current status of numeric nutrient criteria development and WDEQ’s path forward.

Nutrient Condition Maps

As identified in the Wyoming Nutrient Strategy, WDEQ has compiled nutrient conditions maps that show relative levels (high, moderate, low) of major nutrients (total phosphorus, total nitrogen) and response parameters (chlorophyll a and cyanobacteria density) for rivers and streams and lakes and reservoirs in Wyoming. The current versions of the maps include data collected through 2016. WDEQ plans to update the maps as additional information becomes available.

Narrative Assessment Methods for Nutrients

WDEQ has started the process of developing more detailed assessment methods to determine whether Wyoming’s existing narrative criteria to protect designated uses may be exceeded due to nutrient pollution. The intention with this effort is to make data collection, analysis, and interpretation of results more consistent and to help identify situations where designated uses are clearly not being met due to nutrient pollution. The primary focus thus far has been on developing tools to identify changes to the structure and function of aquatic communities in streams and rivers from nutrient pollution and identifying exceedances of narrative criteria protective of primary contact recreation due to harmful algal blooms. The work is showing some promise, but will take some additional time to refine and validate. WDEQ plans to share drafts of any proposed changes with the Nutrient Work Group before incorporating the recommendations into Wyoming’s Methods for Determining Surface Water Quality Condition and releasing for public comment.

Please contact Lindsay Patterson at Lindsay.Patterson@wyo.gov or 307-777-7079 with any questions.