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Wastewater Is Key to Reducing Nitrogen Pollution

Scientific American – June 2, 2016

Upgrading wastewater treatment plants can dramatically reduce a municipality’s nitrogen footprint. Upgrading wastewater treatment facilities as well as household septic systems can be expensive, but such measures can dramatically return bodies of water to health.

Septic tanks aren't keeping feces out of rivers, lakes

ScienceDaily – Michigan State University, August 3, 2015

The notion that septic tanks prevent fecal bacteria from seeping into rivers and lakes simply doesn’t hold water, says a 2015 study. A team of water detectives has discovered freshwater contamination stemming from septic systems.

Great Gravel

Montana Outdoors, July-August 2017

New research shows how underground floodplains maintain healthy river “immune systems”.

Invisible Rivers Beneath our Feet with Dr. Ric Hauer

National Museum of Wildlife Art and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Dr. Ric Hauer’s presentation of “Invisible Rivers Beneath our Feet” about gravel-bed ecosystems with a special introduction by Dr. Harvey Locke.

Gravel-bed river floodplains are the ecological nexus of glaciated mountain landscapes

Science Advances Vol 2, No. 6 03 June 2016

In the glaciated regions of the Rocky Mountains, essentially from the Yellowstone area in northwestern Wyoming, United States, to Yukon, Canada, gravel-bed rivers are disproportionately important to regional biodiversity and to landscape-scale ecological integrity. Research conducted in this mountain region, across a wide variety of fields in ecology and diverse taxa, has highlighted the importance of these gravel-bed rivers to an unexpectedly high proportion of the region’s aquatic, avian, and terrestrial species. Although gravel-bed river floodplains play a disproportionately important role in sustaining native plant and animal biodiversity, they have also been disproportionately affected by human infrastructure and activities.

An Ecosystem’s Lifeblood, Flowing Through Gravel

The New York Times

“A river doesn’t just flow down the channel,” said F. Richard Hauer, a professor of stream ecology at the University of Montana and the lead author of the paper. “It flows over and through the entire flood plain system, from valley wall to valley wall, and supports an extraordinary diversity of life…A river is a huge, huge biodiversity engine with multiple parts. If you keep taking out parts, pretty soon the engine stops.”

Yale Environment 360: A New Way of Understanding What Makes a River Healthy

Published at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

A recent outbreak of a deadly fish parasite on the Yellowstone River may have seemed unremarkable. But a new wave of research shows the episode was likely linked to the cumulative impact of human activities that essentially weakened the Yellowstone’s “immune system.”

Original Proposal for Philanthropic Support for Comprehensive Wastewater Master Planning in Teton County, Wyoming

As our population and the number of visitors to our valley have grown the patchwork of wastewater treatment plants, independent sewer districts and septic systems has become responsible for treating larger and larger quantities of waste and, as a result, these systems are no longer sufficient for properly removing enough nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewater before it is discharged into our surface or ground water. The lack of county-wide wastewater planning has led to a loss of efficiency and economies of scale while having adverse effects on the health of our residents and the health of our local waterways. In the absence of any coordinated wastewater planning, the economic, regulatory and environmental issues surrounding this issue will only increase – exponentially.

Residential Landscape Best Practices to Minimize Impact on Water Quality

Many of the streams and creeks that flow into the Snake River in Jackson Hole have demonstrated elevated levels of algae that are well above what would be considered healthy for this area. Elevated algae levels can negatively impact fish habitat and human health. While we are not at crisis levels yet we want to solve this well before we get anywhere close. A prime cause of the algae is directly related to excess levels of nutrients entering the surface and ground water. It has been determined that one of the largest sources of this nutrient pollution comes from excessive residential lawn fertilizer applications.