Working to Protect Waterways, Now and for Future Generations

Our Approach:  We use a combination of strong science, community action, and legal expertise to defend the Upper Missouri River, its tributaries, and communities against threats to clean water and healthy rivers.

We work with communities and citizens to take a strong stance on the hard issues — to defend our waterways and communities from projects that would do harm, and to fight for and secure new regulations and protections that will provide critical defense and progress in the future.

HISTORY

Founded in 2013, Upper Missouri Waterkeeper works on lesser-understood, often complex, water quality issues affecting landscapes, waterways and communities of Southwest and Westcentral Montana. Click here to see a map of where we work.

We are a stand-alone non-profit organization that is a member of the international Waterkeeper Alliance, a movement founded by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. that empowers individuals in protecting and improving their local watersheds, with over 200 licensed Waterkeepers on 6 continents. We employ the licensed Upper Missouri WATERKEEPER®, our Executive Director, who directs our programs and acts as the primary eyes, ears, and voice for the ~25,000 square miles of the Upper Missouri River Basin.

Still curious as to exactly what a “Waterkeeper” is? Watch the story, below:

MISSION

Upper Missouri Waterkeeper protects fishable, swimmable, drinkable water throughout the 25,000 sq. miles of Montana’s Upper Missouri River Basin of Montana.

To accomplish this mission we actively engage with citizens, stakeholders and decisionmakers, utilize water-quality monitoring and best-available science and, when necessary to protect waterways and communities, insist on compliance with the law. We believe healthy, clean waterways go hand-in-hand with strong communities and therefore focus both on stopping pollution and on sustainable, long-term solutions to issues threatening Southwest and West-Central Montana.

  • Through our monitoring program Upper Missouri Waterkeeper actively assesses the health of our waters by patrolling the Basin using kayaks, drift boats, and even our trusty old pick-up. We strive to reinforce the good work local watershed groups perform while adding our own unique value as a regional organization that identifies emerging or technical pollution issues as well as works with a network of trained volunteers to detect and report pollution.
  • As a major conservation stakeholder, Upper Missouri Waterkeeper actively engages government agencies and businesses working to regulate pollution discharges from sewage treatment plants, industrial facilities, agricultural operations and construction sites, and municipalities among others. Upper Missouri Waterkeeper enforces the Clean Water Act of 1972, using the power granted citizens to sue under provisions of the Act, to stop pollution and bring egregious polluters to justice.
  • Although our leading goal is stopping water pollution, we know that many of the complex issues threatening the Upper Missouri River Basin can be most effectively solved by engaging people and businesses in its communities – after all, the rivers and landscapes of Southwest and West Central Montana are where we all live, work and play.

THE NEED: OUR WATERSHEDS ARE THREATENED BY…

  • Erosion, sedimentation, and excess nutrients
  • Legacy & industrial pollution & Superfund clean-up
  • Population growth & poor land use planning
  • Inadequate oversight & enforcement of pollution controls…and the list goes on

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Legal Action – We enforce the Clean Water Act through administrative and legal action.

Patrols & Monitoring – Upper Missouri Waterkeeper works with local watershed groups and trained volunteers in conducting water quality monitoring and pollution patrols.

Active Engagement – We advocate for the Clean Water Act’s goals by actively engaging with business, governmental agencies and citizens.

Advocacy & Partnership-Building – We get involved at many levels to toughen pollution standards. We partner with businesses to help reduce pollution.

DO YOUR PART

Do your part to stop pollution: drive less (bike, walk, bus, carpool), fix vehicle oil leaks, rely on natural yard care rather than chemicals and native plantings, report pollution when you see it happen, wash your car on your lawn or at a commercial car wash…

  • GET INFORMED about pollution.
  • EXPLORE the spectacular, scenic Upper Missouri River Basin.
  • JOIN THE TEAM as a volunteer.
  • GIVE WHAT YOU CAN to help protect our backyard for current and future generations.