Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum

A Collaborative Approach to Big Sky's Water Future

The Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum is a group of diverse watershed stakeholders working collaboratively to identify and solve water resource issues in the Upper Gallatin Watershed in the areas of ecological health of the river systems, water supply and availability, and wastewater treatment and reuse.

The cumulative effects of 40+ years of development have undeniably impacted our watershed here, and we are approaching the limits of both water supply and wastewater treatment. If Big Sky is only half built out, its future must responsibly deal with these realities.

Steve Johnson

Engaged Community Member and Avid Angler

Community Survey

In August and September 2017, community members were asked to weigh in on preliminary priorities. This community survey, along with input from meetings in Gallatin and Madison counties were used to inform the recommendations to address water resources. The survey summary is available here.

Overall Vision Statement

Big Sky strives to be a model mountain community by protecting and improving water resources, sustaining ecological health of the watersheds, and supporting a vibrant local economy.


Ecological Health of the Rivers: A healthy and resilient river system sustained through a principled approach to watershed stewardship that includes human activities and natural processes that maintain and enhance stream, riparian and wetland conditions and connections, ensuring water remains clean and cold.

Water Supply and Availability: Manage and balance surface and groundwater supplies for a vibrant community sustaining a broad spectrum of uses and values including fisheries, wildlife, recreation, agriculture, municipal, and domestic needs.

Wastewater Treatment and Reuse: Develop and implement holistic wastewater and stormwater management, utilizing best available technologies and practices, to meet Big Sky’s long-term community needs and protect and improve the ecological health of the river systems.

Big Sky Area Sustainable Watershed Stewardship Plan 

The final stewardship plan provides information about the recommendations, goals, priorities, and actions that the Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum stakeholders identified to address community water resources issues. It also provides information about water resources and the alternatives discussed and analyzed.