The Issue

Fish Creek is in Danger

Fish Creek & the West Bank watershed are becoming overloaded with excess nutrients causing serious & growing damage to stream quality, fishing, drinking water & environment.

Land-use activities on the West Bank deeply affect Fish Creek. Increasing development, failing septic systems, treated-sewage injection, changing flow patterns, and excessive lawn fertilization can contribute harmful excessive nutrients to the creek. These excess nutrients have already led to algae growth and a decline in aquatic insect and fish populations.

Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems, and is caused by excess nitrogen and phosphorus in the air and water.[1]

Damage is Evident

Unnatural vegetation and algal growth in streams are proof of excess nutrients.

National water quality summaries consistently identify excessive nutrients as one of the leading causes of impairments to the nation’s waters(EPA National Summary). As a result, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has made addressing nutrient pollution one of their and states’ highest priorities.

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality

Consequences are Impending

All Teton County Residents are Affected.

If no action is taken, water quality throughout the West Bank will continue to degrade and impact our drinking water supply, the native Snake River cutthroat trout fishery, and the overall health of our water resources. Current conditions in Fish Creek also could cause the stream to be added to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s list of impaired streams, resulting in additional state and federal regulation and use restrictions.

Continued degradation could lead to:

  • Degraded drinking water
  • Damage to iconic Class 1 stream
  • Quality of fishing & rafting reduced
  • Negative impact on native Snake River cutthroat trout fishery
  • Inclusion on Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s list of impaired streams

Action Must be Taken

Contributing Factors are Controllable:

  • Aging septic systems
  • Over fertilizing & over watered lawns
  • Discharge of partially treated sewage
  • Ranch animal waste
  • Improper disposal of pet waste
  • Poor snow storage practices

Notes: 1. (2015, February 3). Retrieved March 2, 2015, from 2. Eddy-Miller, C.A., Wheeler, J.D., Peterson, D.A., and Leemon, D.J., 2013, Characterization of Water Quality and Biological Communities, Fish Creek, Teton County, Wyoming, 2007–2011: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2013–5117, 90 p., (