What’s a Watekeeper Pollution Patrol?

Upper Missouri Waterkeeper is unique among other Montana nonprofits in that we actively patrol the breadth of our river basin. Think of our pollution patrols as surveys that assess local water health and also proactively look for signs of pollution.

A summer pollution patrol on the Upper Madison River

This service is an unfunded mandate that local law enforcement or government agencies simply often don’t have the financial or human resources to do. This is particularly true in states with large landscapes like Montana.

Pollution patrols are important in that they not only turn up evidence of environmental violations that otherwise go unnoticed, but also because they allow us to collect scientific data on local conditions and, in turn, better understand environmental challenges local waterways confront.

During our warmer months we patrol rivers of Southwest and West-Central Montana several times a month. We use water science to monitor for several common pollutant parameters that can tip us off to negative changes in local water quality. We also assess streambank health and the types and quantity of riparian vegetation, factors that are important to understanding how and why water quality, fisheries, or other flora and fauna are declining.

If you see us out and about on the river, come say high! We want to hear from you and know what you’ve seen on Southwest and West-Central Montana’s rivers!

A summer pollution patrol