Join us in protecting Jackson Hole’s water resources and native trout! 

Why Trout Friendly?

Nutrient pollution from lawn care practices, such as fertilizing and overwatering, are impacting our waterways. Excess nutrients can lead to increased algae and aquatic plant growth, which can harm aquatic habitats and disrupt the ecosystem. The Trout Friendly Lawns program is designed to be easy for both residents and landscaping professionals to implement. By committing to Trout Friendly landscaping practices, we can collectively improve water quality for the health of all the plants, insects, fish, wildlife, and humans that rely on clean water. Join over 100 residents, businesses, and public parks in committing to Trout Friendly landscaping practices.

Certify your lawn as Trout Friendly:

Basic Level Certification Gold Level Certification


Trout Friendly Practices

Use slow-release or organic fertilizer only if needed, not to exceed two pounds of nitrogen per 1,000 sq. ft. of lawn per year. Do not fertilize within 20 feet of water. Many common fertilizers provide a high but short-lived supply of nitrogen and phosphorus to your landscape. Excess fertilizer can do more harm than good to your plants and the environment. Nitrogen that is not absorbed by plants will seep directly into the groundwater or run off into nearby streams, rivers, ponds, or lakes. Using slow-release or organic fertilizers (including landscape clippings and compost) can help promote plant growth and encourage healthy soils without harming water quality.

Sprinkle your lawn at dawn and dusk every other day, and don’t water while it’s raining. Raise your mower blade height to three to four inches so less water and fertilizer are needed. Most people water their lawn more than needed. Excess water can run off into nearby waterbodies or seep directly into groundwater, carrying pollutants with it. Overwatering also leaches nitrogen from soil, before seeping into the groundwater. Watering the correct amount will encourage healthier plants with deeper roots, making your lawn more drought-tolerant in the long run.

Maintain a five-foot buffer of unmanicured landscaping around water to act as a natural filter between lawns and waterbodies. Streamside buffers, such as tall native grasses or willows, act as a natural filter between your lawn and nearby streams or ponds, preventing nutrients and other chemicals from reaching the surface water. Because they have evolved in local climatic conditions, native plants also require less water and fertilizer than introduced vegetation. Native streambank buffers help prevent erosion and sedimentation and are crucial for trout, aquatic insects, and wildlife. Healthy streambank vegetation also helps keep water temperatures cool by shading the stream and it’s important nesting and foraging habitat for wildlife.

Only apply herbicide for state- and county-listed noxious weeds, using spot spraying or mechanical removal techniques where appropriate. Excessive application of pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides can have adverse effects on water quality and native plants, insects, fish, and wildlife. However, it is important to treat state- and county-designated noxious or invasive weeds and to follow the recommended guidelines on product labels. Contact Teton County Weed & Pest District for invasive species management plan information.

What we do on the land affects our streams

Excess water that is not used by vegetation or lost to evaporation will eventually run off into nearby waterbodies or seep directly into the groundwater, carrying fertilizers, pesticides, and other pollutants with it. As Jackson Hole continues to grow and experience more visitation, the pollutant load to our water will also increase, degrading water quality and threatening the health of plants, aquatic insects, fish, and other animals that live in and rely on clean water.

Nutrient pollution from poor lawn care practices, excessive application of herbicides and pesticides, and overwatering are already having an impact on our waterways. Elevated levels of algae as a result of nutrient loading have been documented in Fish Creek. Fertilizer and pesticides from landscaping activities can be toxic to fish, wildlife, children, and pets, and can pose a threat to public health by contaminating groundwater, which is our source of drinking water.

Be part of the solution!

As residents of Jackson Hole, we all enjoy the beauty of our streams and benefit from healthy waterways. Each of us has a stake in the current and future health of natural resources in Jackson Hole. By following the recommended best management practices outlined in the Trout Friendly Lawns Certification Program—and encouraging your friends and neighbors to do the same—you can be part of the solution.

Benefits of Trout Friendly Lawns:

  • Protects surface and ground water quality
  • Healthier for your children and pets
  • Creates and bolsters habitat and forage for fish, birds, and wildlife
  • Supports insect populations
  • Conserves water quantity
  • Reduces the costs of landscaping by using less water and electricity

Did you know? 

  • Snake River fine spotted cutthroat trout is the only trout species native to Jackson Hole.
  • Watering during the heat of the day can waste up to 65% of water through evaporation.
  • A recent USGS study identified residential landscaping as one of the major sources of nutrient pollution in the Fish Creek watershed.
  • The drinking water aquifer in Jackson Hole is often just inches below the ground surface.

Special thanks to the Gallatin River Task Force and Wood River Land Trust for sharing resources and information for our Trout Friendly Lawns Program.