Water Quality

How is Water Quality Determined?

Water quality is categorized by the source of the pollutants contained in the water.  There are two main types of sources, called point and non-point sources.  Point source pollutants come from a specific known location, such as a pipe from a factory or water treatment plant.  Nonpoint sources are more dispersed and variable, including such things as sediment running off unpaved roads, excess fertilizers or pesticides running off a farmer’s fields, or petroleum products washing off of parking lots and city streets.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established water quality standards for many known pollutants.  Nonpoint source pollutants are divided into different types.  The State of Montana is developing Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) values for the different types of NPS pollution so we can all work to protect our water sources.  Learn the answers to many questions about NPS from the EPA website http://www.epa.gov/owow/NPS/qa.html.

Be Watersmart

This site offers information on some of the the remarkable plants that are found in riparian areas (all the land that surrounds lakes, ponds, rivers, streams,  and creeks), tips for ensuring water quality and links to resources for additional help.  Go to Watersmart Montana

Stream Channel and Riparian Area Monitoring Guide

How healthy is your stream? The riparian area is the zone of water-loving vegetation along streams, wetlands, ponds and lakes. In Flathead County’s montane ecosystem,healthy riparian areas commonly contain trees as well as shrubs. This monitoring guide, developed for pastures, can be used by all landowners adjacent to surface water. Use this Monitoring Guide to help you protect your property and your investment. Contact us for help if you think you have a problem.

Montana Lake Book

Check out the newly revised Montana Lake Book to learn actions you can take to protect your lake.  Go to Montana Lake Book.

Aquatic Invasive Species – Stop the Hitchhikers

Montanans and visitors need to be aware that aquatic diseases and invasive species can easily spread from one water body to the other.

Anglers, boaters and their equipment can transport these pests. It takes only one mistake to infest a new area. To protect Montana’s waters and native aquatic species, please follow these  3 simple guidelines: Clean, drain and dry.  For more information click on Aquatic Invasive Species or see the National Invasive Species Information Center