The Voice of the River
Half to three quarters of the human body is composed of water. We couldn’t live without water, flowing in and around us.
The Environmental Protection Agency designated August as National Water Quality Month to celebrate clean water. Here are five ways to protect healthy rivers:read more
The Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum has a vision for Big Sky to be a model mountain community for water resource management. Successfully achieving this vision will require strong community engagement. Participate in holistic watershed planning in Big Sky by taking our short survey.read more
We invite you to join the Gallatin River Task Force for the Annual Upper Gallatin River Clean Up on Thursday, August 31st, 2017 at 2 PM.read more
According to the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks (FWP) website, “High water temperatures and low stream flows prompted Montana FWP to implement hoot owl restrictions on several rivers in Southwest Montana on July 19th until conditions improve.”read more
Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum Collectively Identifies Goals and Initial Priorities for Water Resource Management
Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum (Water Forum) stakeholders, representing diverse community and watershed perspectives, continue the collaborative effort to develop a unified watershed stewardship plan for the Big Sky area. This approach to water resources management is important because it helps the entire community work together to make decisions and manage water resources for the long term.
Participants have strongly stated that they want Big Sky to be a model community. Achieving that requires working together on common goals to address water resource challenges.read more
Did you know that Big Sky water use triples in the summer? Irrigating outdoor landscapes, including lawns and gardens, causes the exponential increase in use. Here are 10 tips for a water-wise landscape.read more
Thank you again for making 2017 the most successful Fly Fishing Festival yet! We grossed over $56,000, which blows past events out of the water.read more
The busy summer field season has barely begun, and our work to protect clean water is far from over. Here are three ways to get involved this summer.read more
The Great Gallatin Guide-Off pairs master fly fishing guides with people who want to have a good time, catch fish, and support a healthy Gallatin River for future generations! Win your favorite guide by bidding for him or her online. The winning bidder will fish with a winning guide on Saturday, July 1st.read more
The Outdoor Fair presented by the RMR Group will make a splash in the Big Sky Town Center Park on Saturday, July 1st featuring the annual guide competition, a multi-sport race, and energetic bluegrass music by Low Water String Band.read more
Did you know that water use in Big Sky triples to 300 gallons per day during the summer months? Irrigating outdoor landscapes, including lawns and gardens, causes the exponential increase in use.read more
The Gallatin River Task Force buttoned up a large-scale streambank restoration project on the West Fork of the Gallatin River as if flows through the Big Sky Resort Golf Course in May 2017. The project, which broke ground in October 2016, addresses elevated nutrient and fine sediment levels in the West Fork.read more
The sixth annual Gallatin River Fly Fishing Festival will land in Big Sky on June 30th to July 2nd, 2017.
“We are really excited to grow the Fly Fishing Festival into a community-wide celebration of rivers and conservation,” said Kristin Gardner, Executive Director of the Gallatin River Task Force. “Thanks to new events and a great band, the 2017 Festival will be bigger and better than ever!”read more
Thank you to the forty donors who raised $8,735 to support a healthy Gallatin River for future generations on May 4th and 5th, 2017 during Give Big Gallatin Valley. The Gallatin River Task Force was the 21st of 168 nonprofit raising funds in Gallatin County.read more
On April 27, Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum (Water Forum) stakeholders and community members dove into initial analysis of what solutions might best address the water resource needs of growing human community and thriving natural river systems. Stakeholders representing community, business, conservation, recreation, downstream, local government, and agency perspectives have been meeting since June 2016 to create a community-based approach to water resources management.read more
How would you prioritize drought risks like fire, fishing bans, and early resort closures in Big Sky? Join the discussion at our next Upper Gallatin Drought/Water Supply Focus Group meeting on May 24th.read more
In March, we predicted an early runoff, and below average peak flows, but now we’re not sure what to expect. What do you think peak flow in the Gallatin will be in 2017? When will the Gallatin peak? We’ll announce the best guess on our Facebook page.read more
On March 30, the Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum (Water Forum) finalized its community goals for water resources. This is the first time a diverse, community-based effort has identified desired outcomes for the area. The goals expressed represent an umbrella of the priorities for water resources management.read more
On March 22, 2017 at the premier of the F3T Fly Fishing Film Tour in Big Sky, Camille Egdorf, fly fishing guide for Yellow Dog Flyfishing Adventures, selected the recipient of a custom RO Drift Boat. Diane Bartzick was the lucky winner!read more
The Gallatin River Task Force and volunteers will be harvesting willows for the West Fork Restoration Project on Wednesday, 4/12 at 1 PM. This volunteer project will include light manual labor (lopping stakes, pruning willows, and bundling them into groups of 20), snacks, and fun!read more
The Gallatin River Task Force began collecting routine water quality data in the Upper Gallatin River Watershed in 2000. This data is used to assess and track the long-term health of rivers and streams, plan for restoration projects, and identify and monitor unforeseen events. The 2016 Upper Gallatin River Watershed Water Quality Report outlines data trends observed between 2000 and 2016 and summarizes data collected after the wastewater effluent spill at the Yellowstone Club in March 2016.read more
“Just as you check your furnace or smoke detector batteries seasonally, spring is a good season to have an annual well checkup before the peak water use season begins,” recommends the National Ground Water Association (NGWA).read more
On February 21, the Big Sky Sustainable Water Forum (Water Forum) stakeholders and several other interested members of the community discussed how best to express their joint desired outcomes for the future of Big Sky’s water resources through a statement of goals.read more
PHOTO BY MATT McCORMICK The Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) returns to Big Sky on Wednesday, March 22nd at the Lone Peak Cinema with two showings at 5 PM and 8 PM. The 2017 tour showcases nine fly fishing films from around the world. This year’s film tour will be the most...read more
What does below average snowpack in the Gallatin Watershed in 2017 mean for summer streamflows?read more
The Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum (Water Forum) is moving forward toward setting goals to guide the future of water resources management. On January 12, stakeholders met to begin the identify common ground on what outcomes are desired. Designated Water Forum stakeholders and additional members of the community expressed perspectives on water resources outcomes and identified themes that represent major values and considerations as the group moves forward.read more
The Gallatin Association of Realtors and the Gallatin River Task Force will be hosting a “Conserving Land and Protecting Water in Gallatin County”, a Continuing Education Course for REALTORS®, on March 3rd from 8:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the Hilton Garden Inn in Bozeman, MT.read more
About 90 people came to hear information about the current and future ecological health of the rivers, water supply, and wastewater treatment and disposal at a community meeting held December 6 at Buck’s T-4 and led by the Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum.read more
The Gallatin River Task Force was named the Best Nonprofit in Big Sky in an annual Explore Big Sky poll.read more
Did you know that if everyone in the United States used just 1 less gallon of water per shower each day, we could save 85 billion gallons of water per year?read more
Please consider giving a gift to the Task Force, on behalf of the Gallatin River, before the end of 2016. Your donation is tax deductible, and the river reaps the benefits with you.read more
We can’t believe that another year of monitoring and restoring the Gallatin River Watershed has come and gone! To date in 2016, the 114 members of the Volunteer Task Force donated 912 hours, drove over 3,000 miles, raised over $20,000 at the Hooked on the Gallatin Banquet, and harvested at least 5,000 willows.
Before we ring in the new year, we want to take the time to celebrate the accomplishments of a few of the individuals who went to great lengths to protect the Gallatin River. Thank you to all of our volunteers, you make our work possible.read more
Rick & Michelle Donaldson have rivers flowing through their hearts, from Michigan to Montana.read more
Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum stakeholders shared information on wastewater treatment and disposal in the Big Sky area on November 3rd, 2016.
Wastewater treatment and disposal will play a critical role as Big Sky develops. Kevin Germain, Lone Mountain Land Company’s Vice President of Planning and Development, tied infrastructure to building community, “to solve affordable housing needs, we need to solve water and wastewater needs”.read more
The West Fork Project requires thousands of willow cuttings. Vertical “stakes” will be planted to enhance wetland areas and anchor bioengineering materials while horizontal “layers” will be installed directly into the rebuilt streambanks. Here are some tips for harvesting willow cuttings to increase survival rate and project success.read more
In the second of three meetings focused on information sharing, Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum (BSSWS) stakeholders shared information about water supply and availability in the Big Sky area. Overall, water supply and storage are limited. This means that managing existing water supply is important for the future health of the Big Sky community, downstream users, fisheries, and the ecosystem.read more
Bozeman’s Confluence Films will release its fifth feature length fly-fishing film, “Providence”, on Saturday, October 15, in synchronized screenings in dozens of locations worldwide.read more
The Gallatin River Task Force hosted a continuing education course developed for Big Sky realtors on September 20th, 2016. The goal of the course was to empower realtors with relevant water resources information to pass on to landowners to help make wise land and water use decisions.read more
Do you love to WIN? Do you love FLY FISHING?
Buy a raffle ticket, WIN a RO Drift Boat, AND help the trout in the Gallatin River!
Call the Gallatin River Task Force office at 406.993.2519 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how to buy your tickets today! Tickets are $100 and the drawing will happen when 100 tickets are sold. You could have a new drift boat for...read more
A group of stakeholder met to discuss the ecological health of the Big Sky area river systems during the second Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum meeting on August 31, 2016.read more
“Montana’s East Rosebud Creek is a step closer to a Wild and Scenic Rivers designation,” according to Montanans for Healthy Rivers, a coalition working to conserve Montana’s last, best free-flowing rivers.read more
Telluride Mountainfilm on Tour, a travelling collection of the best short films from the acclaimed Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, will be landing in Big Sky, MT for the first time on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at 7 p.m. at the Lone Peak Cinema.read more
The Second Annual Great Gallatin Guide-Off was wildly successful again this year! John Sniscak and his client were the big winners. The spruce moths were popping on the Gallatin, and the fish were rising like crazy to gobble up the lepidopteras.read more
The Gallatin River Watershed received near average precipitation this winter, but an unseasonably warm, dry April lead to early runoff and low summer flows.
Skiers and snowboarders enjoyed plentiful powder days in December 2015 and March 2016. Persistent warm, dry conditions in April and May melted snow two to three weeks before the historic average. Early runoff meant whitewater enthusiasts were on the river well ahead of schedule, but streamflow in the Gallatin has been below average and declining since the last week of May.read more
The Task Force is excited to reveal that the first phase of the Big Sky Water Conservation Program is scheduled to launch by the end of Summer 2016. All those who reside within the Resort Tax District will be eligible to participate in our Indoor Residential Rebate Program to replace their toilets, showerheads, and clothes washers with higher efficiency models from qualifying brands like WaterSense.read more
By Karen Filipovich What happens to water resources when two of Montana’s premier river headwaters become a four-season resort hub and growing community? The members of the new Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum hope to answer this question by developing a...read more
The Gallatin River Task Force will host the Hooked on the Gallatin: Youth Fly Fishing Camp this summer from Tuesday, July 19th to Thursday, July 21st.
We’ve recruited a talented crew of local guides and fishing enthusiasts to assist with Camp. Meet the 2016 team!read more
The Gallatin River Task Force is one of two organizations selected this year by RO Drift Boats to receive a drift boat donated at cost. The Task Force will raffle off the boat to support watershed conservation efforts within the Gallatin River Watershed.read more
The Gallatin River Task Force and Big Sky Community Organization will host the Hooked on the Gallatin: Youth Fly Fishing Camp during the 2016 Gallatin River Fly Fishing Festival. The Hooked on the Gallatin: Youth Fly Fishing Camp aims to inspire a lifelong passion for fly fishing and watershed conservation.read more
The appeal of Big Sky is legendary. Celebrities, athletes, outdoor enthusiasts of every stripe find their way to Big Sky, drawn by the spectacular open lands, extensive trails and world-class waters.
Now, a growing network of local businesses has found a new way to help support the future of Big Sky. These businesses are making it simple for their customers to make small contributions, allowing anyone and everyone to contribute to the protection of this incredible place.read more
Report Released for the First Phase of Monitoring after the Yellowstone Club Wastewater Effluent Spill
The Gallatin River Task Force completed a report for the initial phase of monitoring after Yellowstone Club wastewater effluent spill. Data results indicate that Montana health standards were not exceeded at any of the sampling sites during the monitoring period. Aquatic life standards were exceeded for ammonia and sediment.read more
Adam Johnson is a busy guy. Adam works in the Environmental Management Program at the Yellowstone Club, and builds mountain bike trails on the side. When he’s not working, Adam goes to great lengths to protect the Gallatin River Watershed. We sat down with Adam the other day to learn why he decided to become a member of the Volunteer Task Force.read more
We love rivers, especially the Gallatin River. Whether you spend your days chasing adrenaline-charged rides through rowdy waters or pursuing the perfect cast into a deep pool, we hope you agree that the Gallatin is a world-class river.
At the Gallatin River Task Force, we envision a healthy Gallatin River Watershed for future generations. On Tuesday, May 3rd, we invite you to become a part of our vision.read more
On Thursday, March 3, 2016, a mechanical failure in a storage pond for tertiary treated wastewater discharged approximately 30 million gallons of treated effluent into Second Yellow Mule Creek and subsequently the Gallatin River. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) detected 18 pharmaceutical chemicals and breakdown products in water spilling directly from the Yellowstone Club wastewater pond and 11 chemicals in the downstream tributaries. Pharmaceutical concentrations measured after the Yellowstone Club Spill were below levels predicted to affect human health. DEQ results recorded an anti-convulsant and mood stabilizer, carbamazepine, and an antibiotic, sulfamethoxazole, at levels that could harm fish and stream insects.read more
The Lone Peak High School Environmental Science class completed a service-learning project to educate the Big Sky Community about septic care and maintenance. This year, the class studied wastewater treatment systems and their relationship to water quality. The students learned about municipal wastewater treatment by touring the Big Sky Water & Sewer District plant and on-site wastewater treatment by developing bathroom signs for the school and businesses with septic systems.read more
Healthy watersheds and clean and abundant water resources are a vital part of the Big Sky area, now and into the future. Big Sky is growing rapidly, with significant development projected in the next several years. In December 2015, the Gallatin River Task Force initiated an effort to gauge public interest in convening a community-based, collaborative watershed planning process in the Upper Gallatin Watershed. Beginning in January 2016, contacts were made with 32 watershed stakeholders representing community, business, and conservation interests as well as local, state, and federal government. Almost unanimously, there was strong interest voiced in participating in a community-based approach.read more
Last year during Give Big Gallatin Valley, the Gallatin River Task Force raised about $4,500 and was the #1 ranked environmental nonprofit raising funds. Join us this year on Tuesday, May 3rd to support clean, cold, and abundant water in the Gallatin River for future generations.read more
Did you know, the average person in Big Sky uses about 125 gallons per day in winter and that number triples during the summer with irrigation use? Currently, Big Sky lacks a community-wide water conservation program but with a future forecasting drought conditions and a 2044 buildout projection: it’s time to start thinking about how much water we are using every day. The Task Force is working to develop a water conservation plan for Big Sky to ensure our community has an adequate drinking water supply. Take our Water Conservation Awareness Survey and help determine which water conservation programs should be implemented in Big Sky in the near future.read more
The Gallatin River Task Force staff attended a Streambank Stabilization Workshop hosted by the Madison Conservation District (CD) and facilitated by Jo Christensen, United States Forest Service. The workshop combined classroom time with a work project on the Jack Creek. Here are seven new things we learned about streambank stabilization.read more
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released analyses of water quality and fish population results and concluded that aquatic life was affected by the Yellowstone Club spill. According to the DEQ, ammonia, turbidity, and total suspended solids surpassed levels predicted to affect aquatic life. Limited fish mortality corroborated water quality data.read more
The Fly Fishing Film Tour (F3T) returns to Big Sky Thursday, March 24 at the Lone Peak Cinema, with two showing at 5 PM and 8 PM. Now in its 10th year, the F3T feature nine of the finest fly-fishing films from around the world.read more
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) released some of the results of their water quality monitoring and concluded that no human health standards were exceeded in the streams affected by the Yellowstone Club Spill.read more
On Thursday, the Task Force joined a team led by Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks (FWP) to survey fish population on the South Fork of the West Fork (South Fork). Overall, the fish population appeared relatively healthy. Our team found 5 dead trout immediately downstream from the confluence with Second Yellow Mule Creek. Many sculpin showed evidence of fin erosion, related to high levels of suspended sediment carried downstream from the steep slopes exposed below the pipe failure.read more
Recent events have demonstrated the importance of the Gallatin River Task Force Community Water Quality Monitoring Program. Thanks to volunteers like you, the Task Force was able to pinpoint the start and duration of the Yellowstone Club wastewater effluent spill and provide meaningful historical data that is being used to evaluate the impacts of the incident.
Help us continue this valuable work! Join the Task Force at an upcoming monitoring event: April 6th, 7th, and/or 8th to collect baseline water quality data for the Upper Gallatin River Watershed.
Help the Task Force to continue to be the local source for water resource information. Join us April 6th, 7th, and/or 8th to help collect baseline water quality data for the Upper Gallatin RIver Watershed.read more
The Big Sky Water & Sewer District held a special board meeting to address the Yellowstone Club Spill. The meeting was open to the public. The District plans to hold future evening informational meetings for the public.read more
Important information on the scope of the well testing program in the aftermath of the YC Spill.read more
Yesterday, the cause of the Yellowstone Club Effluent Spill was determined. Ice completely severed the outlet structure causing rapid flow that damaged the outlet pipe and pond lining.read more
Great news! The discharge from the Yellowstone Club wastewater effluent storage pond stopped at around 4:30 am this morning.read more
For homeowners with wells adjacent to streams affected by the Yellowstone Club effluent spill: if you are concerned about water quality in your well, the Yellowstone Club will cover the testing costs. Bring your well test kits to the Big Sky Water & Sewer District OR to Bridger Analytical Laboratory: 7539 Pioneer Way, Bozeman, MT 59718.read more
At the Gallatin River Task Force, it is our mission to provide timely, scientifically accurate water quality information to the general public. We will use this web page to publish frequent updates as we monitor and assess the aftermath of the wastewater effluent spill on Yellowstone Club property. But first, a recap!read more
True or False: 10 inches of new snowfall melts into 1 inch of water.read more
The Gallatin River Task Force welcomes Rick Donaldson to the Board of Directors. A Big Sky resident since 2010 and a river lover for life, Rick brings his life-long passion for rivers and financial acumen to the Task Force team.read more
Want to learn more about how to restore a river? Join us for the Moose Creek Après Q & A, March 3rd, 4 to 6 PM, Lone Mountain Ranch Saloon.read more
Word on the street is that the skiing has been great this year! But is that really true? Has 2016 been a great snow year or merely better than last year? Read on to hear what Task Force supporters are saying about this year's snowpack and to see the latest stats from...read more
“The trout are hatching! But one of the eggs turned white, and it came out funny,” a second grade student informed me during Nordic practice at Lone Mountain Ranch. Three weeks ago, I drove to the Ennis National Fish Hatchery to pick up 100 rainbow trout eggs for a...read more
NOAA vs. The Farmer’s Almanac: Whose prediction for the 2015/2016 winter has been the most accurate thus far?
This fall, the threat of a “super” El Niño for the 2015/2016 winter made national headlines. Forecasters called for flooding in California, drought in the Rockies, and a frigid winter in the Southwest. Now that the snow has started to fall in Big Sky, let’s see how two long-range forecasts compared to the winter we’ve experienced thus far.read more
Big Sky Watershed Corps member, Stephanie, transitions to a new staff position.read more
Over the past year, the Task Force staff, board, and volunteers have collected more than 8,000 data points! Read on, to learn what we discovered.read more
We give you the 2015 Volunteer Awards!read more
We couldn’t possibly thank everyone who helped us succeed in 2015, but we’ll give it a try!read more
Thanks Big Sky Resort for a “surprise” opening day! Thanks geology for sculpting the mountain we know and love!read more
Fine sediment is the leading cause of river impairment in Montana. Learn how and why we measure the amount in our rivers and streams!read more
Over the weekend, the Task Force board and staff had the chance to marry their passion for hydrology and outdoor recreation. The Task Force board and staff are participating in the Gallatin Microplastics Iniative, a study by partner non-profit Adventurers and...read more
Meet Meryl Storb - PhD Student at MSU in the Payn Watershed Hydrology Lab Here's what she has to say about her exciting new monitoring work in the West Fork Watershed: If you’ve spent any time fishing, splashing or looking for animals on the West Fork of the Gallatin...read more
This July, while shopping at local businesses you can help preserve Montana's open land, abundant trails, and clean water by "rounding up" to the nearest dollar amount. Round Up for Open Land is an effort by three Montana conservation organizations: Big Sky Community...read more
We're adding new sites to our Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring Program! The Gallatin River Task Force Water Quality Monitoring team journeyed up Bighorn Trail, along the Gallatin River in Yellowstone National Park, and collected our first sample from a site within...read more
Here is a summary of the Basin Outlook Report as of May, 2015 courtesy of NRCS. This winter brought record low snowfall and abnormally warm temperatures to the American West. Although Montana fared better than many Western states, the water outlook for this summer is...read more
Spring has sprung. The air is getting warmer. Dogtooth violets are blooming in abundance. High in the mountains the snow has started to melt. Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed the river changing. Rivers ebb and flow with the seasons. During the winter,...read more
Our Vision: a healthy Gallatin River Watershed for future generations. The Blue Water Task Force is thrilled to announce that we have changed our name to the Gallatin River Task Force, effective immediately. The name change was initiated to clarify the role that the...read more
Check out this awesome video, courtesy of Jeremy Harder, of the Ophir School Fourth Grade Class learning how the Gallatin River breathes. In this interactive lesson, members of the MSU education department and the Blue Water Task Force worked together to teach the...read more
Big Sky is a growing community. From the canyon to the Yellowstone Club, Big Sky is between 20 and 80% built out. According to the US Census, the permanent population of Big Sky doubled between the 2000 and 2010. Although the growth rate of about 103% since 2000 may...read more
Join the Task Force for a day of wonder and answers “Wisdom begins in wonder.” Socrates The Scientific Method: 1. Ask a question 2. Develop a hypothesis 3. Collect data 4. Test the data … over and over and over and over 5. Draw a conclusion Have you ever wondered how...read more
Celebrate National Groundwater Awareness Week with the Task Force! What: Well water test kits available for: antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, bacteria, copper, chromium, iron, lead, mercury, nitrate, selenium, or thallium. When: Tuesday, March 10th, 11...read more
Those of us who like to play outside in the winter have spent valuable time bemoaning the current snow situation. In addition to complaining about snow scarcity, we should take a moment to worry about the future of water as well. High elevation spring snowmelt feeds...read more
Inquiring minds want to know: What caused the repeated dramatic drops in the discharge of the Gallatin River over the past six weeks? The answer: During the past month and a half, large fluctuations in temperature have effected stream discharge. Recent "unseasonable"...read more
The Blue Water Task Force isn't the only community-based organization engaged in water quality monitoring. The Task Force is part of a larger network of non-profits committed to preserving and protecting our nation's rivers. Recently, the program where I gained...read more
On Friday at the Ophir Elementary School, the science was real! Students in the fourth grade class completed a laboratory activity on pH as part of the Trout in the Classroom Module facilitated by the Blue Water Task Force. In addition to raising trout from eggs to...read more
Last Wednesday, Kristen, the executive director of the Blue Water Task Force, and I joined over 20 watershed groups in the Capital Rotunda to educate legislators and the public on efforts to conserve Montana's water resources. Watershed Wednesday was well-attended by...read more