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Forum highlights 'impaired waterways' of Montana

Posted at 7:08 PM, Jan 31, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-01 13:34:55-05

LEWISTOWN — The Central Montana Resource Council held a seminar in Lewistown to discuss Montana's Impaired Waterways. Here's a few words from the key speakers on the issue of impaired waterways.

Dr. Adam Sigler: An impaired water body is a term that is under the Clean Water Act, which is a national labor is implemented in Montana by the Department of Environmental Quality and it is when a stream has too much of a pollutant in it for it to be the water, to be useful for aquatic life or for recreation or for agricultural use or drinking. And one of those studies have shown that point sources of pollution are not what cause the majority of our water quality issues these days. It's sources of pollution that are spread out across the landscape or non-point sources of pollution that cause issues with the majority of our stream and river miles. And so that's important to understand, because the law and policy at both the national and the Montana level that deal with non-point source issues are all under a voluntary, voluntary framework.

Dr. Rachel Malison: I was invited to come tonight to talk to everyone about volunteer monitoring and why it's so important and how they can help protect our Montana waters. And I was invited, particularly because I run a program at the Flathead Lake Biological Station called Monitoring Montana Waters. What we do is support volunteers throughout the state of Montana. And we basically our goal is to provide them with information, guidance, funding and support to help them collect scientifically credible data.

Clint Smith: Fish need water. So addressing water quality and habitat, fish living is part of my job and part of our role as being good stewards of the fish and wildlife resources of the state. I'm here to talk about watershed restoration planning and how that plays into a communities efforts to address water quality issues and concerns priorities in a watershed. So restoration planning basically laying out a road map for a group of stakeholders to address water quality impairments or concerns in their in their watershed.