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

Why trout friendly?

Protecting the health of the Upper Snake River watershed and the clean water its trout and wildlife depend upon is critical for all of us living in Jackson Hole. What we do to our lawns can directly affect the health of our river and its fishery. By making small changes to our lawn care and using “best management practices”, we can collectively make a positive impact. Continue reading to learn techniques that promote a healthier watershed for our community and get your lawn (and your neighbors) certified as “trout-friendly”!

Make sure your lawn is trout-friendly. Get certified and be entered to win from over $1,500 in prizes:

Basic Level Certification Gold Level Certification

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 mere inches below the ground surface.

What we do on the land affects our streams

Each lawn and yard in Jackson Hole is part of the Upper Snake River watershed, which means that every drop of water landing on these lawns not used by vegetation or lost to evaporation will eventually make its way to nearby rivers and streams. This water will collect and carry fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals along with it as it flows into nearby waterbodies, affecting the quality of surface water and groundwater. 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 and rely on clean water.

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

Be a Part of the Solution: Trout Friendly Lawns Certification Program

As residents of Jackson Hole, we all enjoy the beauty of our streams and benefit from healthy waterways. Each of us has stake in the current and future health of the natural resources in Jackson Hole. Water quality degradation is happening here, but there are actionable solutions you can participate in that will make a positive impact. 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.

Certification elements:

Many common fertilizers only provide a high but short-lived supply of nitrogen and phosphorus to your landscape. Excessive levels of fertilizers can cause more harm than good to your plants and the environment. Excess nitrogen not taken up by plants will infiltrate into the groundwater system or will be carried on the surface with rain events and into the river. Using slow-release or organic fertilizers (such as landscape clippings and compost) can help promote plant growth and encourage healthy soils without these detrimental effects.

Most people water their landscapes more than needed. Excess water leaches nitrogen from soil before entering the groundwater. Watering the correct amount will produce healthier plants and deeper roots. Water conservation protects our water, while reducing the costs of landscaping by using less water and electricity.

Native plants require less water and fertilizer than introduced vegetation, because they have evolved to live in the local climatic conditions! Native streambank vegetation is crucial for trout, aquatic life and wildlife. This vegetation helps prevent erosion and sedimentation, buffers flood impacts and will help filter nutrients and other chemicals from your landscape. Healthy streambank vegetation also helps keep water temperatures cool by shading the stream and will also serve as nesting and foraging habitat for wildlife.

Excessive application of herbicides and insecticides can affect ground and surface water quality. Insecticides can have the same effect on trout and aquatic life as they have on insects. Herbicides can affect plants in downstream areas if transported by water runoff or through the groundwater. However, it IS important to treat State and County designated noxious, invasive weeds and to follow the recommended guidelines on product labels.

Trout Friendly Benefits

  • Safer for your children and pets, and fish and wildlife
  • Attracts more birds and wildlife
  • Protects our water quality and quantity

Join the growing number of Jackson lawns that are trout-friendly certified.

Basic Level Certification Gold Level Certification


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