GALLATIN COUNTY EXTENSION COMPILES LOCAL DROUGHT RESILIENCY REPORTS
Gallatin County Extension is now compiling Drought Resiliency Index reports for the Gallatin County region, reporting two current years of data from nearby NRCS SNOTEL sites and USGS stream gages and comparing it to longer term averages. The reports also include the NRCS Surface Water Supply Index and the NOAA’s Drought Monitor maps. Online reports, as well as printable PDFs can be found here.
PHARMACEUTICALS IN GROUNDWATER IN THE GALLATIN VALLEY – FINAL REPORT PUBLISHED
The Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG) and the Gallatin Local Water Quality District collected wastewater, groundwater, and surface-water samples from different land-use settings across the Gallatin Valley to screen for the occurrence and distribution of pharmaceuticals and personal care products, and to evaluate the effectiveness of different wastewater treatment processes on OWC removal. The findings of the study have been summarized in a report published by MBMG.
MONTANA SUPREME COURT RULES ON GROUNDWATER DEVELOPMENT
On September 13, 2016, the Montana Supreme Court affirmed an earlier decision by Lewis and Clark County District Court Judge Jeffrey Sherlock, ruling that groundwater developments do not need to be physically connected or have a common distribution system to be considered a “combined appropriation” subject to regulation and permitting by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC). State law provides an exemption when a groundwater appropriation does not exceed 35 gallons per minute and 10 acre-feet per year, but the exception does not apply when a “combined appropriation” from the same source by multiple wells exceeds 10 acre-feet per year, regardless of flow rate. DNRC had enforced conflicting definitions of “combined appropriation” in the years since the state law was enacted, ultimately leading to the need for interpretation of the law by the state’s highest court. The Court concluded that “combined appropriation” refers to the total amount or maximum quantity of water that may be appropriated without a permit, and not to the manner in which wells or developed springs may be physically connected. A summary of the ruling can be found here.
ARSENIC IN GROUNDWATER – FINAL REPORT AVAILABLE
GLWQD has completed the 2016 Western Gallatin Valley Arsenic Distribution Project, which focused on domestic wells in the Amsterdam-Churchill area. A report of our findings is available here. A project summary is also available.
For more information about arsenic in groundwater, please read our fact sheet.
FEMA UPDATING FLOODPLAIN MAPS
Gallatin County is currently working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Montana DNRC to update Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the West Gallatin River and Bozeman Creek and its tributaries. New Flood Insurance Rate Maps from this project are expected to be finalized in 2018 after a technical and public review process.
The finalized maps may be used by lenders, insurance agents, county government, property owners, and developers to determine areas of flood risk. Gallatin County GIS has put together an interactive map viewer for visualization and planning (non-regulatory) purposes. Users are advised that the interactive map may not align exactly with the official FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps, which will be used by lenders.
Visit the Gallatin County Floodplain Mapping Webpage for more information, to use the interactive mapper, and to learn about upcoming informational open houses.