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SUBMIT COMMENTS TO DEQ OPPOSING POLLUTION CONTROL ROLLBACKS 

 

Nutrient pollution, namely nitrogen and phosphorus, is one of the largest threats facing Montana’s waterways. Excessive nutrient loading to our waterways results in noxious, neon-green algal blooms, impaired water quality, and degraded fishery and aquatic habitat. The largest contributors of nutrient pollution include wastewater treatment plants, refineries, and mines. Currently, excessive nutrient pollution negatively impacts 35% of Montana’s river miles and 22% of lakes, according to the State of Montana’s own records. It’s clear the State of Montana and DEQ shouldn’t be rolling back water quality protections for special interests.

Montana was a leader in the nation for adopting science-based “numeric” water quality standards in 2015, yet unfortunately, Governor Gianforte and the 2021 Montana Legislature passed Senate Bill 358, directing the Montana Department of Environmental Quality to rollback Montana’s strong, numeric nutrient criteria that protect our rivers and streams from pollution in favor or ambiguous, unproven “narrative” criteria — all to the benefit of the state’s largest point source polluters. 

Senate Bill 358 required DEQ to develop a new set of rules using narrative water quality criteria and an ‘adaptive management program’ for managing nutrient pollution. DEQ has released the draft regulations for public comment, open until February 8. 

Check out our tips for drafting public commentfact sheet, and sample comments

Submit comments to Loryn Johnson, Paralegal, Department of Environmental Quality here. 

 



ASK GOVERNOR GIANFORTE TO FORM A COLD WATER FISHERIES TASK FORCE

 

Upper Missouri Waterkeeper submitted a letter signed by a broad coalition of Montana fly fishing outfitters and lodges, international fly fishing businesses Orvis and Patagonia, and conservation groups requesting Governor Gianforte immediately create a Cold Water Fisheries Task Force to address the decline of cold water fisheries in the state, particularly in Southwest Montana.

Add your name to the letter along with dozens of other fly fishing businesses and conservation organizations. Montana’s cold water fisheries need to be protected for current and future generations.

The letter, in part, states:
“As you know, clean and healthy rivers and vibrant, wild fisheries are part of our unique way of life. They are also critical to Montana’s outdoor economy, which accounts for $7.1 billion in consumer spending and supports more than 71,000 jobs. If water quality in our rivers continues to decline, and our rivers themselves dry up, these negative changes will also tank our state’s robust outdoor economy that directly depends upon vibrant cold water fisheries. During this difficult time recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot ignore the threats to our cold water fisheries that could undermine one of the largest contributors to Montana’s economy.

We urge the formation of a cross-government, multi-agency task force that would begin an important process of identifying meaningful policy changes, seeking proactive agreements with landowners, and implementing science-based long-term solutions to address the declining health of Montana’s iconic cold water fisheries. We recommend that the Task Force at minimum include representatives from Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, Department of Environmental Quality, Department of Agriculture, Department of Commerce, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services, Region 8 EPA, local governments, tribal governments, conservation districts, fly fishing businesses, agricultural groups, watershed groups and conservation groups.”

Read the full letter here.

The time to take action and protect our cold water fisheries is now.

Montana’s cold water fisheries need to be protected for current and future generations. Add your name here.

ASK GOVERNOR GIANFORTE TO FORM A COLD WATER FISHERIES TASK FORCE NOW