You may have noticed colorful trout signs on Town Square, pickup trucks, even in large mural form on a wall facing the SpringHill Suites hot tub.
These fishy art installations, designed by local artists Abby Paffrath and Ben Roth, celebrate Jackson Hole Clean Water Coalition’s mascot: the Snake River fine spotted cutthroat trout.
The cutthroat is the only trout species native to Jackson Hole, and it’s at risk due to toxic nutrient pollution caused by excess fertilizer and overwatering.
To combat poor landscaping practices, the coalition started the Trout Friendly Lawns Program.
Most landscaping businesses in Jackson have already signed on to the program, which earns them a certification from the coalition, one of those vibrant trout signs, and a fair bit of bragging rights.
“People see (the sign) on my truck,” said Kris Lunde of Lunde Lawn Care. “It’s been a great opportunity to open the conversation with customers and raise awareness.”
Those businesses that haven’t signed on yet (like the Jackson Hole Golf and Tennis Club), have the opportunity to do so at a free training Tuesday. During a webinar from 9 a.m. to noon, soil scientist Dr. Jay Norton will present, and businesses that pledge to follow all the practices can pay to get a yearly certificate. Visit JHCleanWater.org to sign up.
JH Clean Water Coalition was founded by Teton Conservation District, Trout Unlimited and Protect Our Water Jackson Hole, and — like most Jackson partnerships — it has grown to include seven additional organizations.
The partnership targets nonpoint source pollution, meaning pollution that can’t be traced to a single source, like a problematic factory. Instead the responsibility is on everyone — or at least everyone with a lawn.
Teton Conservation District Communications Specialist Phoebe Coburn said she has been very impressed with the commitment to water quality from members of the community and public officials.
“I definitely feel like momentum is growing,” Coburn said.
Last year, county commissioners incorporated recommendations on water quality into the revision of the 2012 Jackson/Teton County Comprehensive Plan, prompted by advocacy groups who cited evidence of pollutants in Fish Creek and Flat Creek.
“If you don’t pay attention and don’t take the steps that are needed to protect your water, if you disregard those, it’s very easy to expect degradation to occur,” said Carlin Girard, water resource specialist with Teton Conservation District and a member of the JH Clean Water Coalition.
Most folks have few objections to the practices — something Coburn attributes to the community emphasis on conservation in Jackson. But there are some obstacles.
Slow-release fertilizers are more expensive and not always effective on new lawns. Because they have less phosphorus, they work better once established grass has taken root. And on the natural buffer front, some of the landscaping companies serve…