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Southern Ute Indian Tribe

Water Quality & Remediation Division


The Water Quality & Remediation Division strives to protect and improve the quality of surface waters and assess and remediate potentially hazardous sites within the Southern Ute Indian Reservation.


106 – Surface Water Monitoring

The §106 Program monitors 23 aquatic sites across the Southern Ute Reservation. These sites include rivers, streams, wells, seeps, springs, lakes, and ponds. At each of the monitoring locations, chemical, physical and biological data are collected for three-year periods on a rotating schedule. General water quality monitoring occurs year-round using sonde technology and water sampling in all weather conditions. The sonde continuously monitors dissolved oxygen, conductivity, temperature, turbidity and pH at 30 min intervals for up to 9 months during the year.

For more information about the §106 Program, please visit the §106 Program web page.

319 – Nonpoint Source Program

The §319 Program has been implementing best management practices (BMPs) to improve water quality within the exterior boundary of the Reservation since it received Treatment as a State (TAS) status from the EPA in 1997. The program has implemented agricultural BMPs, stream restorations projects, and provided technical input, education, and outreach to the community.

For more information about the §319 Program, please visit the §319 Program web page.

WIIN – Animas River Monitoring

Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act

In 2016, under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act, the U.S. Congress authorized appropriations of $4 million per year in 2017-2021 for a long-term water quality monitoring program for the San Juan watershed. The Southern Ute Environmental Programs Department Water Quality Program along with the EPA, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Navajo Nation, and the states of Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico have been working together to develop and implement the long-term water quality monitoring program.

For more information about the WIIN Program, please visit the WIIN Program web page.

Services Provided to Tribal Membership

The Water Quality & Remediation Division provides the following services to tribal members:

  • Provide assistance with agricultural land use practices that can benefit water quality including improved irrigation equipment, field filter strips, off-stream watering sources, and riparian exclusion fencing, as available.
  • Provide assistance with stream bank erosion and riparian enhancement projects by assisting tribal members who are experiencing stream bank erosion, degraded riparian habitat, and other issues regarding streams.
  • Provide education and outreach to the tribal membership regarding ways to improve water quality and current conditions.
  • Conduct groundwater well testing, please contact the 106 program coordinator, Rachel Vaughn, at 970-563-2222 to schedule if interested.

Water Quality Standards

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s water quality standards on April 15, 2022. For more information about and a copy of the Tribe’s water quality standards, please visit the Water Quality Standards web page.

401 - Water Quality Certifications

On March 28, 2018, the United States Environmental Protection Agency approved the Tribe’s Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification Program application to be treated in a similar manner as a state (TAS), granting the Tribe full authority to implement and administer its program on Tribal Trust Lands.

For more information about the Section 401 Certification program, please visit the 401 Water Quality Certification web page.