Next Wednesday, September 16 in Casper, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality will host a public discussion of a decision to downgrade about 87,000 miles of streams in the state. The DEQ argues such waters are too shallow for swimming. Outdoor groups disagree, saying campers and hunters bathe and swim in them and that it could lead to more illness due to higher levels of the bacteria e. coli. Wyoming Outdoor Council Associate Director Chris Merrill says that’s why his group is posting maps of all the streams on their website.
“We’re trying to facilitate as much citizen involvement as possible,” Merrill says. “First of all, we’re hoping that people can use these maps because they’re relatively easy to use to check out if their favorite streams and creeks have been re-classified to allow for more e. coli. And then they can let the DEQ know about those streams.”
Merrill says, the maps show re-classified streams in red lines and cover most mountain ranges in the state including the Wind Rivers, the Absorkas, the Snowy Range, the Wyoming Range, the Bighorns and others.