JACKSON, WY–What we do in our backyards affects our streams and waterways—and that can have a ripple effect on our ecosystems and our health.
The JH Clean Water Coalition is committed to protecting the health of the Upper Snake River watershed.
Every yard in Jackson Hole is part of the Upper Snake River watershed. This means that every drop of water landing on those yards not used by vegetation or lost to evaporation will eventually make its way to nearby rivers and streams. Fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals can make their way into nearby bodies of water, affecting the quality of surface water and groundwater. The more Jackson grows, the more pollutants enter our waterways, threatening aquatic life.
This is why the JH Clean Water Coalition launched the Trout Friendly Lawn Program which encourages water resource stewardship through landscape practices. There are two levels of certification you can achieve through the “Trout Friendly Lawn Program:” Basic and Gold.You can learn more about these certification levels at JHCleanWater.org. By making small changes to lawn care, like adopting “best management practices,” everyone can contribute to making a positive impact.
Nutrient pollution as a result of poor lawn care practices—from excessive application of fertilizers to overwatering— is known to impact the waterbodies in our valley. In fact, nutrient pollution has caused elevated levels of algae in Wilson’s Fish Creek, a Snake River tributary that runs through residential development. Landscaping chemicals can be toxic to fish and wildlife, as well as children and pets. They also contaminate groundwater. Since our drinking water aquifer in Jackson is often mere inches below the surface, these chemicals can also pose a threat to public health.
Be a Part of the Solution: Trout Friendly Lawns Certification Program
Residents of Jackson enjoy the beauty of our streams and waterways, and we all have a stake in the current and future health of Jackson’s natural resources. The JH Clean Water Coalition has actionable solutions you can participate in that will make a positive impact. By following the recommended best management practices outlined in the Trout Friendly Lawns Certification Program – and encouraging your friends and neighbors to do the same – you can be part of the solution.
JH Clean Water Coalition offers these basic lawncare recommendations:
- Limit Fertilization
- Use slow release or organic fertilizer only if needed, not to exceed 2 pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of yard per year. Do not fertilize within 20 feet of water.
- Be Water Wise
- Do not overwater. Sprinkle at dawn and dusk every other day. Stop watering when it’s raining. Raise the mower blade to a mow height of 3 to 4 inches so less water and fertilizer is needed.
- Plant Natives & Maintain Streamside Buffers
- Maintain a 5-foot buffer of unmanicured landscaping around water.
- Use Herbicides and Pesticides Appropriately
- Only apply herbicide for state and county listed noxious weeds, using spot spraying or mechanical removal techniques where appropriate.
Learn more about trout-friendly lawns and protecting our waterways here.