The Voice of the River

A Right to Conserve

A Right to Conserve

On Oct. 20, the Gallatin River Task Force hosted a workshop focused on using water rights as a legal tool to ensure there is enough water to support a healthy ecosystem and fishery. Kerri Strasheim from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation provided the...

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The Bloom is Back

The Bloom is Back

As you’ve likely noticed, a wide-spread, bright green algae bloom yet again took over our backyard waterway. From the upper reaches of the Taylor Fork to downstream of Portal Creek, filamentous vegetation covered the river-bottom rocks. At first glance, the algae is...

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A Wild & Scenic Gallatin

A Wild & Scenic Gallatin

Anyone who has spent time on the Gallatin River would agree it is among the finest waterbodies in the western United States. For whitewater enthusiasts, there’s the Mad Mile, anchored by the iconic House Rock. For anglers, there’s Baetis Alley, a dry-fly fisherman’s...

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Mining for Water

Mining for Water

It’s no secret that Big Sky’s water resources are fragile. Water quantity and quality are heavily dependent on a deep winter snowpack and large rain events in the spring, summer, and fall. This precipitation recharges our groundwater resources. As summer wears on and...

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Prioritizing Restoration

Prioritizing Restoration

The upper Gallatin River is famous for its easy access. From the Yellowstone National Park boundary to the mouth of Gallatin Canyon, anglers, rafters, and kayakers enjoy almost 40 miles of public waterway and riverbank—but this convenience is not without consequence....

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Quality Control

Quality Control

Since 2000, the Gallatin River Task Force has monitored water quality in the upper Gallatin watershed. Staffers and volunteers have routinely sampled several locations throughout the watershed to determine how land-use practices impact our streams, creeks, and rivers....

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Recreating Responsibly

Recreating Responsibly

As temps warm, we’re all raring to get back outside and stay there, passing the time along our riverbanks, trails, ridgelines, and shorelines. In the Upper Gallatin watershed, we enjoy nearly unencumbered access to outdoor recreation, but with that access comes...

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Sowing a Healthy Gallatin

Sowing a Healthy Gallatin

When I set out to write this article about landscaping, native wildflowers, and summer irrigation, it was dumping snow and below freezing. Now, it's 65 and sunny. Ahhhhhh, spring in Montana. The calendar might say one thing, but Mother Nature always has her own plans....

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Truly a Force

Truly a Force

As 2019 comes to a close, we have a lot of good news to share. Our position as conservation leaders and stewards of the Gallatin River is having a measurable impact, and as that impact grows, so too does our need to empower that capacity. Since Labor Day, we've added...

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Festival Increases Revenue, Attendance

Festival Increases Revenue, Attendance

The Gallatin River Festival, held on June 29th and 30th, celebrated all that our watershed has to offer and brought in nearly $150,000 to support conservation and stewardship, as well as an additional $60,000 to complete the Gallatin River Forever campaign. A record number of river-lovers flocked to the rebranded, three-day event to enjoy food, music, spirits, and children’s activities at the outdoor fair on Saturday and bid big at the casually classy banquet on Sunday.

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Advocate for Montana’s Iconic Rivers

Advocate for Montana’s Iconic Rivers

We need you to call the Montana delegation to voice your support for clean, free-flowing rivers. The draft Montana Headwaters Security Act would designate new Wild and Scenic rivers to ensure the highest form of protection for Montana’s most crucial rivers on public lands. Currently, less than half of one percent of the rivers in Montana are permanently protected as Wild and Scenic. However, the Montana Headwaters Security Act proposes to designate 37 new Wild and Scenic Rivers and streams in the state.

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Commit to a Trout Friendly Landscape

Commit to a Trout Friendly Landscape

Each lawn and landscape in Big Sky is part of the Gallatin Watershed. Every drop of water not used by vegetation on these yards and landscapes will eventually make its way to nearby creeks and into the Gallatin River. As our community continues to see growth in both tourism and development, our waters are faced with more potential sources of pollution and less water for fish. Conservation landscaping practices help reduce negative impacts on the Gallatin River and its healthy trout populations.
Here are a few guidelines for a Trout Friendly lawn and landscape.

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Big Sky Shuttles’ “Save the Canyon…Ride the Coach” Campaign Raises $4,000

Big Sky Shuttles’ “Save the Canyon…Ride the Coach” Campaign Raises $4,000

Big Sky Shuttle (BSS) owner Tracie Pabst donated $4,000 to the Gallatin River Task Force through the “Save the Canyon…Ride the Coach” campaign. The umbrella campaign, “Buck a Sale for Big Sky”, encourages businesses in Big Sky to support their favorite local non-profits. BSS collected money for the Task Force by donating one dollar for every luxury airport shuttle seat booked during the 2019 winter season.

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Meet Summer Intern, Isabella Vendramin

Meet Summer Intern, Isabella Vendramin

Hailing from the banks of the Hudson River in upstate New York, Isabella Vendramin believes that rivers are vital to both the ecosystems and the communities they run through. A rising senior studying Environmental Science at Colgate University, Vendramin offers a background in sustainability and hopes to gain experience with community-based conservation work through her internship. She is excited to garner support to permanently protect the Gallatin, and other rivers in Montana, through the Wild and Scenic rivers system and to assist with extensive watershed monitoring.

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The Inside Scoop

The Inside Scoop

The roughly 84 million doggie denizens living in the US produce an estimated 11.6 million tons of poop every year. That’s enough doo to fill nearly 300,000 eighteen-wheelers parked bumper-to-bumper from New York City to Los Angeles, according to DoodyCalls, a franchise that specializes in pet waste removal. All that crap poses a threat when dog owners don’t pick up after their pets, leaving poop to be carried by runoff to rivers and streams.

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Gallatin River Forever Campaign Nears Fundraising Target

Gallatin River Forever Campaign Nears Fundraising Target

The Gallatin River Forever capital campaign has generated just over 1.1 million dollar to date including campaign costs, announced the Gallatin River Task Force.

The Gallatin River Forever public phase was launched in June 2018 with leading support coming from Madison County, Yellowstone Club, and Eric & Wendy Schmidt, as well as tremendous support from hundreds of local community members, businesses and foundations. The campaign is set to raise over 1.2 million dollars to conserve and protect the Gallatin River watershed by June 30th, 2019.

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Stellar Team Advances Capital Campaign

Stellar Team Advances Capital Campaign

Launched publicly in June 2018 to fund river restoration projects, education, and organizational sustainability, the Gallatin River Forever Capital Campaign is approaching its 1.2 million dollar goal with just under 20% remaining as of February 1st. The campaign committee consists of fantastic individuals from across the spectrum of the Big Sky community and the campaign would not have been a success without them.

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Meet Three New Task Force Staffers

Meet Three New Task Force Staffers

The Gallatin River Task Force has welcomed three new faces to the office in recent months. Brandy Moses Straub, Ryan Newcomb, and Valerie Bednarski bring diverse experiences and perspectives to our small, but dedicated team. We invite you to learn more about our river’s new stewards.

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Top Ten Stories from 2018

Top Ten Stories from 2018

At the Gallatin River Task Force, we feel that this past year was filled with phenomenal growth. We partnered with the Custer Gallatin National Forest to complete our first large-scale restoration project in Gallatin Canyon, hired two staff members, and recruited volunteer talent to our board of directors. In case you missed the action, we present the top ten stories from 2018, according to Google Analytics. Thank you for your connection to the Task Force!

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Gallatin River Forever Campaign Needs Your Help this Holiday Season….

Gallatin River Forever Campaign Needs Your Help this Holiday Season….

We announced the public launch of our Gallatin River Forever Capital Campaign in June of this year to raise $1.2 million dollars in order to: monitor, repair, and improve the Gallatin River and its tributaries to ensure the long-term health of the watershed. Would you consider supporting our work this holiday season, to help us end 2018 in as strong of a position as possible? Together, we can ensure the Gallatin River Forever.

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Native Landscape Will Be Built at Crail Ranch in Spring 2019

Native Landscape Will Be Built at Crail Ranch in Spring 2019

After noticing invasive species growing at Crail Ranch, Jen Mohler, Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance, brought together a team of nonprofits to build a native plant garden. The garden will educate visitors about native plants, invasive species, Water Wise principles, efficient irrigation, and so much more. The Task Force, in partnership with the Gallatin Invasive Species Alliance and Big Sky Community Organization, is working with the Big Sky Water and Sewer District and local nurseries to support this large landscaping project.

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Volunteers Gave Back to the River at the Annual Cleanup

Volunteers Gave Back to the River at the Annual Cleanup

Almost ninety volunteers crowded the Big Sky Community Park to pick up trash on a rainy day. Young and old, alone and in groups, these dedicated river lovers arrived to do something special…to leave our river cleaner than they found it.

“We were simply blown away by our community,” remarked Task Force Executive Director, Kristin Gardner. “Together, we removed about half a ton of trash from the Gallatin River and streams in the Big Sky area”.

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Support a Future of Cold, Clean, and Abundant Water for the Gallatin River

Support a Future of Cold, Clean, and Abundant Water for the Gallatin River

You have the power to protect the Gallatin River, now and forever.

The Gallatin River Task Force board, staff, and campaign committee are excited to announce the public phase of the Gallatin River Forever Campaign. Our goal is to raise $1.2 million for river conservation and improved access projects, education and outreach opportunities with our community, organizational stability, and water quality monitoring.

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Task Force to Host Seventh Annual Upper Gallatin River Cleanup

Task Force to Host Seventh Annual Upper Gallatin River Cleanup

The Gallatin River Task Force will host the seventh annual Upper Gallatin River Cleanup on August 30th at 2 PM. Volunteers will pick up trash from the banks of the Gallatin River between the Yellowstone National Park boundary and the mouth of Gallatin Canyon, as well as cleaning up streams in the Big Sky area. Last year, over one hundred volunteers removed 1,000 pounds of trash from the watershed.

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Meet Gallatin River Ranger, Andrea McElwain

Meet Gallatin River Ranger, Andrea McElwain

Meet Andrea McElwain. Andrea is the first Gallatin River Ranger to work for the Custer Gallatin National Forest. This summer, her focus is to improve river access and user experience along the Gallatin. We sat down with Andrea the other day to learn a little bit more about her and what she’s been up to this summer.

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Give Feedback through the Gallatin River Use Survey

Give Feedback through the Gallatin River Use Survey

The Gallatin River Task Force will be performing a river use study during the summer of 2018 that will allow for recreation users to provide feedback about how they view the Gallatin and where enhancements could be made on the river to improve access and river health through online and in-person surveys. The study is the result of a partnership between the Gallatin River Task Force, Montana State University, and the Custer Gallatin National Forest.

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Refocused Gallatin River Festival Launches June 28 to 30

Fly Fishing Festival to Feature Montana-made Spirits and Music by The Last Revel

After a watershed year in 2017, the Gallatin River Fly Fishing Festival returns to Big Sky from June 28th to 30th, 2018. The Fly Fishing festival features three action-packed days that celebrate fly fishing and conservation, including a Montana-made spirits garden and music by the Last Revel. Last year, the festival invested $33,000 in a healthy Gallatin River for future generations.

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Volunteer to Protect Montana Taxpayers and Clean Water

Volunteer to Protect Montana Taxpayers and Clean Water

The Gallatin River Task Force and YES for Responsible Mining will host a training for volunteers who are interested in gathering signatures to support the petition for I-186 on Thursday, May 31st from 4 to 5 PM at the Big Sky Water and Sewer District conference room. The training will consist of two parts and is mandatory for anyone interested in gathering signatures for I-186. Volunteers must be 18 years or older, a Montana resident, and registered to vote in Montana. For more information or to express interest, contact [email protected], call (406) 993 – 2519, or visit yeson186.org.

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Volunteer to Safeguard Streambanks at Moose Creek Flat

Volunteer to Safeguard Streambanks at Moose Creek Flat

Help the Gallatin River Task Force and the Custer Gallatin National Forest preserve the Gallatin River for generations to come. Join us for a volunteer project on Monday, May 21st at 9:30 AM to install fencing around streamside vegetation planted at Moose Creek Flat. This opportunity is part of a long-term effort to improve river health and public safety in Gallatin Canyon.

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New Faces Join the Gallatin River Task Force Board of Directors

New Faces Join the Gallatin River Task Force Board of Directors

The Gallatin River Task Force said farewell to three familiar faces on our board of directors and welcomed five new members to the team this winter. Ron Bowlin, San Goveia, and Nancy Sheil contributed years of service to the Task Force. With their guidance, the Task Force grew from a single, part-time coordinator to a small organization with multiple employees. We will miss their insight, humor, and talent, but are excited to welcome Rob McRae, Michael Jacquard, JeNelle Johnson, Bill Collins, and Ennion Williams aboard.

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Do You Know What’s in Your Water?

Do You Know What’s in Your Water?

Do you rely on a domestic well for your drinking water supply? If so, have you ever tested your water quality? As a well owner, it is up to you to test your drinking water to ensure it is safe for you and your family. It is estimated that only 10% or less of households in Gallatin County that drink water from individual domestic wells have ever tested their water quality. Unlike public water systems, no one regularly tests your well water for you and it is your responsibility, just like getting an oil change in your car, or rotating your tires.

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A Wild and Scenic Adventure in D.C.

A Wild and Scenic Adventure in D.C.

Last month, I was invited to join Montanans for Healthy Rivers on a trip to Washington D.C. The purpose of this trip was to meet with the Montana delegation to understand the next steps for passage of the East Rosebud Wild and Scenic bill (S. 501 and H.R. 4645) and to discuss the overwhelming support from Montanas for a broader Wild and Scenic bill that would include the Upper Gallatin River, Porcupine Creek, and the Taylor Fork. Montanans for Healthy Rivers is a coalition of families, business owners, sportsmen, farmers, ranchers, agency officials, land trusts, and conservation organizations working together to conserve free-flowing rivers in Montana for future generations.

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Why Drought Planning Matters

Why Drought Planning Matters

Echoing Montana’s “Best in the West” snowpack, Big Sky sits at 142% above average, putting drought and wildfires of last summer to the back of our minds. When things are going well, why should we think about future hazards? We aren’t experiencing a drought now, so why should we plan for it?

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Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum Presents Water Stewardship Recommendations

Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum Presents Water Stewardship Recommendations

The Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum proposed strategies to encourage Big Sky residents and visitors to use less water; increase water recycling; and preserve and enhance streams, riparian areas, and wetlands. The Water Forum presented twelve consensus recommendations to the community on January 31, 2018.  Successful implementation will ensure that this mountain resort community supports healthy rivers and a thriving human community.

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2018 Volunteer Awards

2018 Volunteer Awards

The Volunteer Task Force is a diverse group of river lovers dedicated to making a measurable difference in the health of the Gallatin River. In 2017, 156 individuals donated over 1,000 hours to monitor water quality, implement the Gallatin River Fly Fishing Festival, and build a sustainable organization.

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Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum Develops Water Stewardship Plan

Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum Develops Water Stewardship Plan

The Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum stakeholders reached consensus on recommendations for community-based priorities and actions to manage water resources in Big Sky. These actions will allow community partners to work together to address current impacts to water resources, maintain and enhance healthy river systems, maximize valuable and limited water assets, slow the flow of water through the watershed, and improve the community’s collective knowledge of the health of Big Sky’s water resources.

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From Big Sky Watershed Corps Member to Water Conservation Program Coordinator

In November, the Task Force welcomed not only the approaching holiday and ski season but also a new Water Conservation Program Coordinator. Emily Casey, our 2016 & 2017 Big Sky Watershed Corps Member transitioned to a new role as a full-time employee to help inspire a water conservation ethic across the community through two main projects: a water conservation rebate program and drought resilience planning.

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Big Sky Fourth Grade Students Explore Environmental Change

Big Sky Fourth Grade Students Explore Environmental Change

“If the water is not clear, nobody will want to play, raft, or fish the river…If nobody wants to play in the river, the economy will go down…because a lot of our money comes from sports in the river,” a fourth-grade student stated during a mock engineering summit at Ophir Elementary School. The Solutions Matter Summit was the culmination of a six-week unit of inquiry by the fourth-grade class exploring local and global environmental change.

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Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum Begins to Identify Wastewater Treatment and Reuse Priorities

Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum Begins to Identify Wastewater Treatment and Reuse Priorities

A collaborative group of diverse stakeholders has been meeting since June 2016 to address water resource management in Big Sky. The group strives to protect and enhance the health of the river systems while providing for the needs of a growing community. In a recent meeting, the Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum focused on identifying priorities for wastewater treatment and reuse. 

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Task Force Board Chair, Rick Donaldson, Hopes to Pass on a Healthy Gallatin River to His Granddaughter

Changing of the Guard

Ron Bowlin retired from the Gallatin River Task Force board of directors at a board meeting on Tuesday, August 29th, 2017. Ron, a career Navy-man, served on the Task Force board of director for almost four years. At the same meeting, Rick Donaldson was named Gallatin River Task Force Board Chair.

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Community Meetings on Big Sky Water Resources in Gallatin Valley

Community Meetings on Big Sky Water Resources in Gallatin Valley

The Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum (Water Forum) is hosting two community meetings in Gallatin Valley focused on Big Sky’s water resources. Stewardship decisions made in Big Sky affect both the Gallatin and Madison river systems. Meetings will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on September 13 at the Belgrade Community Library and on September 18 at the Bozeman Public Library.

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Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum Collectively Identifies Goals and Initial Priorities for Water Resource Management

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.

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