Improving Water Quality & Quantity
It’s easy to take water for granted, and yet, water is one of the most important aspects of the quality of life we enjoy. Clean, flowing, water is the lifeblood of Teton Valley–our streams, our fish & wildlife, and our community. Without it, our lives and livelihoods wouldn’t be the same. Protecting, improving and restoring our precious water resources is a big part of what we do.
Water Quality Protection
Protecting and improving surface water quality and groundwater sources is critically important to community health and welfare and aquatic ecosystems, especially in a high-elevation headwaters with a rapidly growing population. We are working with our diverse community–from family farms to fishing guides–to implement best management practices for protecting and improving our drinking water sources, reducing sediment inputs, and pollutants, to ensure we all have continued access to clean water.
How do we do it?
- Work with cities and Teton County to adopt drinking water protections and plans.
- Provide community education, incentive programs, cost-share programs and events to test well water, properly dispose of hazardous waste and maintain septic tanks.
- Reduce sediment inputs to streams through stream stabilization and habitat restoration projects.
- Work with local agricultural producers to implement best management practices that will improve soil health, reduce run-off and nutrient inputs, and improve water quality through on-farm efforts.
- Continue monitoring surface and ground water valley-wide to maintain current science-based understanding of our water resources.
Improving Water Quantity & Stream Flows
Like most western states, water in Idaho and Wyoming is a precious and limited resource. As a snowmelt dominated headwaters for the Snake River, the Teton and its tributaries run high in the spring and slow to a trickle (with some tributaries running completely dry) in the late summer-fall. These conditions are further heightened by a growing population, irrigation needs, and development pressures, and have big impacts on fish, wildlife and human livelihoods.
How do we do it?
FTR has a number of programs and projects aimed at improving stream flows and improving the availability/predictability of water supplies, for human needs and the environment.
- Our stream flow restoration program began in 2006 to restore tributary flows utilizing cooperative, voluntary solutions. By working with stakeholders and employing a variety of incentives, including market-based compensation, technical assistance and expert advice, we work with landowners/agricultural producers to keep land productive and streams healthy.
- Opportunities for agricultural water conservation and management are numerous, and vary widely depending upon the unique characteristics of each farm or ranch. FTR is working directly with agricultural producers to actively manage water, make irrigation infrastructure improvements, and employ on-farm conservation practices. These improvements can save money and improve crop yields, while also improving water quantity, as well as water and soil health.