State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2008WY44B
Title: Water Quality Criteria for Wyoming Livestock and Wildlife
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: 1
Focus Categories: Water Quality, Water Supply, Agriculture
Keywords: Water Quality, Animal Health, Livestock, Wildlife
Principal Investigators: Raisbeck, Merl; Smith, Michael A. (Univ. Wyoming); Tate, Cynthia
Federal Funds: $ 7,585
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 44,223
Abstract: Water is an essential nutrient, arguably the most essential nutrient. Livestock and big game in the arid areas of the West usually have few choices when it comes to this essential nutrient; often there is no recourse but water produced by oil and gas development (produced water) that may be of dubious quality. Water quality standards, as enumerated in appendix H of Wyoming DEQ regulations (WYDEQ) governing surface discharges, are based upon science that is several decades old and have recently been challenged. That the challenges were themselves based upon dubious information is, in itself, a reflection of the generally sad state of current water quality recommendations by various public institutions. In many cases newer, presumably better, data is available. It just has not trickled down to a useful level. In other cases, mineral production has itself created questions (e.g. chronic toxicity of barium in water to ruminants) that never had to be answered before.

We recently completed a literature review of several water quality elements important to Wyoming wildlife and livestock health for the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (Raisbeck et al., 2007). Time constraints and the nature of the MOU limited this effort to elements (sulfate, TDS, etc.) currently on the DEQs front burner. We propose expanding the DEQ-funded effort to include other elements such as iron and uranium which, while not of immediate concern in produced waters, are likely to be so in the future or are of interest because they occur naturally in Western waters and are extremely toxic. As a minor part of this proposal we will continue to update the previous document.

Progress/Completion Report, 2008, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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