The Lower Gallatin Watershed is experiencing rapid growth. With more people comes a greater potential for impacts to surface water quality. However, surface water quality monitoring within the watershed to-date has been short-term and project-specific. As a non-regulatory department of Gallatin County government with a mission to protect, preserve and improve water quality, GLWQD is tasked in its five-year strategic plan with establishing a Surface Water Monitoring Network program.
The purpose of the program is to collect long-term surface water quality and quantity data in a spatially consistent way. The Network includes sixteen monitoring stations on twelve streams in the northern portion of Gallatin County (see map). The streams flow through areas of varying land use and geology within the District boundary.
Regular data collection from these monitoring stations began in spring of 2018 and will eventually be used to assess trends in parameters commonly associated with nonpoint source pollution. Because the program is in its infancy, trend analysis won’t be available until a sufficient dataset on which to base these efforts is established.
Program data currently available to download or view online is summarized in the table below. Water quantity data collected by GLWQD is made available online through the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology’s Surface Water Assessment and Monitoring Program (SWAMP) database. At some sites, water quantity information is attained from gauges maintained and operated by the Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation (DNRC) or the United States Geological Survey (USGS).
Water quality data is currently available to download or view online through Montana State University Extension Water Quality’s Data Hub, or from GLWQD by request. Regular Watershed Health Summaries present program data in a non-technical format aimed at enhancing the layman’s understanding of watershed health. To view the latest Watershed Health Summary, click HERE
Education and Outreach (E&O)
E&O is also an important component of the program. Gallatin Stream Teams is a volunteer stream monitoring effort that allows citizens to learn more about their watershed by assisting in program data collection and analysis. Stream Teams is a cooperative program of GLWQD and the Gallatin Watershed Council (GWC), and welcomes volunteers regardless of their scientific background. To learn more, or join the citizen volunteer stream monitoring program, check out our Gallatin Stream Teams page.
For more information on the GLWQD Surface Water Monitoring Network Program, contact Torie Haraldson at: firstname.lastname@example.org