Working to Find Ways to Reduce Selenium In Our Locally Affected Waterways
About the Selenium Task Force
In July of 1997, the State of Colorado Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) amended the Classifications and Numeric Standards for the Lower Gunnison and Lower Dolores River Basins (Regulation No. 35). These amendments included the adoption of a new chronic water-quality standard of 4.6 ppb dissolved selenium and the adoption of temporary modifications for selenium standards. The adoption of the new standard meant that a number of segments in the lower Gunnison Basin were placed on the State of Colorado's 303(d) List of Impaired Waters that require the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) for selenium (Regulation No. 93).
In February (1998), the Gunnison Basin Selenium Task Force was formed to address exceedences of the selenium standard in a number of segments in the lower Gunnison River basin and to assist in developing local solutions to reduce selenium loading in affected segments. The GBSTF is "a group of private, local, state and federal interests committed to finding ways to reduce selenium in the affected reaches while maintaining the economic viability and lifestyle of the lower Gunnison River basin."
The GBSTF immediately joined forces with the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Irrigation Water Quality Program (NIWQP). The NIWQP was already conducting studies and planning for remediation of selenium impacts in the Uncompaghre Project Area of the lower Gunnison Basin (For more information on the NIWQP please see "History of the Selenium Problem").
In 2001, the Classifications and Numeric Standards for the lower Colorado River Basin (Regulation No. 37) were amended by the WQCC. Tributaries to the Colorado River which had elevated selenium were placed on the 303(d) List of Impaired Waters (In 2004, the Colorado River mainstem was also listed). As a result, the Grand Valley Selenium Task Force (GVSTF) was formed in early 2002 to address exceedences of selenium standards in multiple tributaries and the Colorado River main-stem. The GVSTF is "a group of private, local, state and federal interests working to evaluate, assess, and actively address elevated selenium and other adverse water-quality issues while maintaining the area's economic viability, quality of life and agricultural heritage."
Today, the Gunnison Basin and Grand Valley Selenium Task Forces (Selenium Task Forces) meet jointly and work collaboratively to address selenium loading in affected reaches. The steering committee of the Selenium Task Force meets on a quarterly basis. Technical subcommittees meet around the steering committee schedule. Please see the Regional Meetings section for meeting dates, locations, agendas and minutes. All meetings are open to the public.