Keep strong protections in place for Montana’s waterways!

The health of Montana’s waterways are at risk. Currently, Montana has strong protections in place to preserve our waterways for fishing, recreation, and agriculture. Unfortunately, a law passed by the 2021 Montana Legislature aims to weaken these protections and remove science-based standards for nutrient levels in our waterways.

Nutrient water quality standards set the limits for the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that can be discharged to our rivers. Too much nitrogen and phosphorus results in dreaded algae blooms and an increase in weed growth in our waterways. Algae blooms in our rivers are harmful to fish and other wildlife, undermine public health, and can negatively impact irrigation for agriculture.

Right now, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has opened a comment period for new rules that move our nutrient standards from numeric standards to much weaker “narrative” standards. Numeric standards are proactive, science-based standards while narrative standards are reactive and only require action after the effects of pollution are visible. They also require special adaptive management plans that are expensive and time-consuming to create.

These proposed rules are a big backslide. In 2015, Montana became a water quality leader as one of the first states to adopt these strong numeric standards to protect our rivers. If we let these rules become dismantled, we will be the first state to lose these hard-won protections, succumbing to polluters. Please take action today to prevent Montana’s waterways from being choked with green slime algae blooms.

This comment period is now closed. Thank you for your interest!

(Note: you can learn more about this issue by watching a recording of a recent educational webinar here.)