Southern Ute Tribal Seal

Water Quality Program

The Mission of the Environmental Programs Division is to make available the resources needed to protect the health, welfare, and environment of the Tribal membership and reservation.

The Water Quality Program strives to improve the quality of surface waters on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation through monitoring and with projects that employ best management practices.

Public Education and Community Outreach is an important component in improving the water quality on the reservation since long-term improvements cannot be achieved without public involvement.

The Southern Ute Indian Tribe, Navajo Nation and the states of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, today announced their Animas and San Juan Spring Runoff Preparedness Plan. The Plan participants share the Animas/San Juan Watershed and are joining forces to prepare for and monitor the melting of El Niño snowpack throughout the region. Monitoring during the spring runoff period is one of the necessary short-term needs for the multi-tribe & multi-state region that is in direct response to the Gold King Mine release that occurred on August 5, 2015.
Click Here to View – Animas San Juan Spring Runoff Preparedness Plan
 

Water inspection

The §106 Coordinator is inspecting a multiparameter water quality device. It is deployed in the river 24 hours a day collecting data at 30 minute intervals. photo Katie Wohlust

§106 Pollution Prevention Control Program

The §106 Program monitors 23 aquatic sites across the Reservation. These sites include rivers, streams and Lake Capote. At each of these sites chemical, physical and biological data are collected. General water quality monitoring occurs year round and in all weather conditions. The gathered data is utilized for general monitoring across the reservation and for the development of water quality standards which form the basis for protecting the SUIT water supply. The program is in the process of acquiring Treatment as a State (TAS) status through the EPA. Groundwater monitoring is a service that is provided free of charge to tribal membership with in the reservation. Any tribal member interested in an analysis of their groundwater is encouraged to contact the §106 Program for an application to have their well tested.

Construction on the Animas

Construction on the Animas

§319 Nonpoint Source Program

The §319 Nonpoint Source Program tries to reduce non-point source pollution through education and outreach, stream restorations, riparian habitat enhancements, and the implementation of agricultural best management practices. Since it’s creation in 1996, the §319 program has implemented Agricultural best management practices on over 600 acres of farmland and has restored almost five miles of rivers and streams on the Reservation.

Services provided to the Tribal Membership

The §319 program within Water Quality provides the following services to tribal members:

  • Provides assistance with agricultural land use practices that can benefit water quality. Improved irrigation equipment, field filter strips, off stream watering sources, and riparian exclusion fencing.
  • Provides assistance with stream bank erosion and riparian enhancement projects. We can assist tribal members who are experiencing stream bank erosion, degraded riparian habitat, and other issues regarding streams and rivers.
  • Provides education and outreach to the tribal membership regarding water quality.
  • Provides technical assistance regarding any nonpoint source pollution issues.

If any tribal member wishes to find out more about these services, please contact Pete Nylander at (970) 563-0135 ext 2214.