Blue Water Task Force

The Upper Gallatin River is a waterway that extends from the headwaters at Gallatin Lake in Yellowstone National Park to the confluence with Spanish Creek, near the mouth of Gallatin Canyon. It is a waterway used by many for recreation purposes, but also could be improved in the ways of water quality and habitat conditions.

The Blue Water Task Force, a local nonprofit, will release its Upper Gallatin Watershed Restoration Plan in April 2012. The plan is a draft blueprint that was built from data collected as part of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s Total Maximum Daily Load program mandated by the Clean Water Act. The Upper Gallatin TMDL was accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency in fall 2010.

The restoration plan has a scope of three to five years and will focus efforts on the West Fork watershed because of its failure to meet water quality standards set by the MTDEQ for nitrogen, E. coli and sediment.

Specific strategies include developing and implementing a plan to reduce sources of nitrogen in that watershed; working with the Montana Department of Transportation to reduce impacts of winter maintenance activities on rivers and streams; and assessing and prioritizing culvert replacement projects to reduce sediment loading and improve fish passage.

BWTF and interested watershed stakeholders will review and update the plan within the next three to five years.