Wyoming Nutrient Work Group: Input on Point Source FAQ and Update

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality  | view as a webpage

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

Wyoming Nutrient Work Group: Input on Point Source FAQ and July 2019 Update

Draft Frequently Asked Questions for Point Sources

DEQ has developed a draft frequently asked questions document for point sources in Wyoming interested in understanding more about nutrient pollution, DEQ’s efforts to address nutrient pollution, and what these efforts mean for point sources. DEQ would like members of the Wyoming Nutrient Work Group to review the draft document and direct any questions, comments, suggested changes, etc., to Lindsay Patterson at Lindsay.Patterson@wyo.gov or 307-777-7079 by July 28th. DEQ plans to update the FAQ document based on the feedback received and post the final version on the nutrient strategy webpage. DEQ is planning to develop a FAQ for nonpoint sources.

Other Updates

Harmful Cyanobacterial/Algal Blooms. DEQ continues to coordinate with the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH), the Wyoming Livestock Board (WLB), as well as other state and federal agencies and partners to address harmful cyanobacterial blooms (HCBs) in Wyoming surface waters. These efforts have resulted in an updated webpage, WyoHCBs.org, that includes lots of new resources on HCBs. Resources include: the Wyoming HCB Action Plan, materials for water management agencies, an updated photo gallery, reporting for suspected HCBs, a map with current and past advisories, and a link to a new listserv specific to HCB advisories.

In June, DEQ issued a joint press release with the WDH and the WLB advising members of the public to be on the lookout for and avoid potential HCBs. DEQ will investigate potential HCBs reported to DEQ as well as those identified by satellite imagery from the Cyanobacteria Assessment Network (CyAN). DEQ’s Water Quality Laboratory is planning to analyze both ambient and HCB compliant samples for two cyanotoxins, total microcystins and cylindrospermopsin, during the upcoming season. These data will be used when evaluating the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s new recommended cyanotoxin criteria and swimming advisory values for microcystin and cylindrospermopsin for potential inclusion in Wyoming’s HCB Action Plan.

In addition to these efforts, the United States Geological Survey is working on a project with Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area to collect data and information on cyanobacterial blooms in Bighorn Lake. USGS plans to collect data on water quality conditions, cyanotoxin occurrence, and phytoplankton bloom community composition across the park. This information will be used to evaluate the environmental factors that may be contributing to bloom development and toxicity as well as the potential impacts of blooms on people and animals.  

Boysen Reservoir Nutrient Initiative. The Boysen Reservoir Nutrient Initiative is a proactive effort to decrease cyanobacterial blooms in Boysen Reservoir by reducing nutrient contributions to the reservoir. The initiative will encourage local point and nonpoint sources to work collaboratively to develop plans, identify resources, and begin implementing cost-effective nutrient reduction projects. DEQ has identified potential work groups and developed draft preliminary goals and objectives for the initiative and shared them with the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts and the three conservation districts in the Boysen Reservoir Watershed (Lower Wind River, Dubois Crowheart, and Popo Agie) for feedback. DEQ plans to meet with these groups this summer to discuss ways to refine the goals and objectives and identify next steps.

Numeric Nutrient Criteria Data Collection. As identified in the 2019 Lake/Reservoir Nutrient Monitoring Sampling and Analysis Plan, WDEQ’s Surface Water Monitoring Program plans to collect nutrient and related data at up to 27 reservoirs this year. The primary focus continues to be reservoirs in southeast Wyoming and reservoirs that are public water supplies or heavily used for swimming where data are lacking. These data will be used to develop numeric nutrient criteria and to prioritize reservoirs for nutrient reduction efforts.