At first glance, Jackson Hole’s water resources seem to be a picture of health. Look closer, and you’ll find…
…that water pollution in our valley threatens serious damage to human health, the environment, and the economy across Teton County, Wyoming. Protect Our Water Jackson Hole’s
Advancement & Outreach Director Meghan Quinn got down and dirty with us about what’s dirty in our water.Protect Our Water Jackson Hole (POWJH) was founded as a 501c3 nonprofit 7 years ago under the name Friends of Fish Creek by a group of long-time Westbank residents who were frustrated after little was being done to address nutrient pollution in Fish Creek.
Excess nutrients tied to our growing population are degrading water quality throughout Teton County. As a result, in 2019 Friends of Fish Creek became Protect Our Water Jackson Hole (POWJH).
Today, POWJH works to be a powerful advocate for protecting and restoring the surface waters and groundwater in Teton County, Wyoming.
POWJH is focused on reducing nutrients from sources such as wastewater, landscape fertilizer, pets, and livestock through county-wide solutions With Hydrologist Dan Leemon at the helm. In 2019, they recognized that nearly every other mountain town resort community, except Jackson Hole, had a long-term wastewater plan to address treatment needs as the number of visitors and residents increased. Having rallied their supporters, POWJH is now working with Teton County on a comprehensive water quality planning process with a strong focus on wastewater and other water quality threats.
Dan Leemon teaches students about the importance of aquatic insect communities.
You may recognize one of their projects. In addition to educating local youth, POWJH partnered with Jackson Hole Public Art for an outreach and education project during the summer of 2020 called WildWalls – a series of murals around town focusing on local water quality issues. The murals are paired with Augmented Reality (AR) features that transform the static image into a live story. POWJH provided the educational AR content and proactive conservation solutions.
The cornerstone of the project is a permanent mural at the Snake River Brewery.
In their own words, “Climate change, a growing population, and increasing tourism will likely raise the problem of nutrient pollution to crisis levels if action is not taken. Essential solutions to our nutrient pollution problems are now underway, but much more must be done.”
Thank you Protect Our Water Jackson Hole for your crucial work. Visit protectourwaterjh.org to get involved.
This story is a part of our #humansofjhchamber campaign, which focuses on the faces of our local businesses and nonprofits. Learn about their inspirations, why started in their industry and more! Find the Chamber on Instagram at @jhchamber. For information about the program, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.