Watershed Monitoring Projects
Community Water Quality Monitoring Program
Our intrepid volunteers have braved cold, high water, and blazing sun to build a record of chemical and physical indicators of watershed health since 2000. The Task Force and partners use this monitoring data to evaluate the health of the Upper Gallatin River Watershed, identify spatial and temporal trends, and to assess episodic events. In addition, our data guides restoration project planning and evaluates the successes and failures of these projects.
Upper Gallatin Watershed TMDL Study
The Gallatin River Task Force partnered with the Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Montana State University to complete an extensive study of the health of the Upper Gallatin River Watershed in 2010. Through this process, six streams in the Upper Gallatin River Watershed were flagged for failing to meet state water quality targets: Squaw Creek, Taylor Fork, Cache Creek, Middle Fork West Fork Gallatin River, South Fork West Fork Gallatin River, and West Fork Gallatin River.
Upper Gallatin Watershed Restoration Plan
The Gallatin River Task Force completed a plan to address water quality concerns in 2012. This document leaned on data collected during the TMDL process to build a blueprint to improve water quality and habitat conditions in the Upper Gallatin River Watershed. Restoration strategies focus on improving the health of the West Fork of the Gallatin by reducing inputs of nitrogen, working with the Montana Department of Transportation to address the impacts of winter road maintenance, and prioritizing culvert replacement projects to minimize sediment inputs and improve fish passage.
Yellowstone Club Spill
In 2016, a mechanical failure in a retention pond at the private Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, MT released 35 millions gallons of treated water into the surrounding streams, requiring a quick response from the community. The Task Force played an important role during this crisis by lending scientific consulting, leading community outreach, working with all public and private parties involved, and being the voice of calm and reason in a moment of crisis.