The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) oversees assessing the quality of waterbodies under state jurisdiction, focusing primarily on perennial rivers and streams and lakes greater than five acres. According to the MT DEQ Draft 2018 Water Quality Integrated Report, DEQ has assessed the water quality of 20,686 stream miles and 493,343 lake/reservoir acres (roughly 38% and 77%, respectively, of the total number of waterbodies under the state’s management authority).
In 2010, the Madison Stream Team was launched as a partnership among local community members, landowners, and local conservation organizations with support from a range of public and private sponsors, including DEQ. Trained volunteers, who receive classroom and field instruction on the technical skills of water quality monitoring, collect data regarding the pH, temperature, dissolved oxygen, flow, suspended solids, and mineral content of the water.
In the Madison Watershed, citizen science plays a welcome role in helping the community and the DEQ make decisions that affect the future of the watershed. For more information, check out this informative video.