MTPR

water quality

National Air Pollutant Concentration Averages, 1990-2018.
U.S. EPA Air Quality System

Snow samples from three national parks in the Rocky Mountains reflect improved air quality in the region since the mid-1990s. That’s according to a recent publication from the National Park Service.

Freshwater diatom seen under a scanning electron microscope.
Courtesy UM Electron Microscopy Facility

The bottom of this shallow stream is covered with a complex community of algae, comprising many different species. Probably most abundant of all are the diatoms, many of which secrete a slippery mucus as they travel, leaving the rocks very slick.

A warning sign for waters that may contain toxic algae.
Montana DEQ/Montana DPHHS

State agencies are warning of increasing "pea soup" looking algal blooms in Montana’s freshwater lakes and reservoirs.

The blue-green algae are usually suspended from or joined to floating mats in the water, and can produce toxins that damage the skin, liver and nerve cells.

Silver Bow Creek in Butte, Montana.
Nora Saks / MTPR

The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to waive state water quality standards for a portion of Butte’s Superfund cleanup.

If the final Superfund cleanup deal currently being negotiated in Butte goes through, extensive work is planned to clean up and protect the major creek corridors in town.

Montana's Flathead Valley from above.
Nicky Ouellet

The Flathead Basin Commission is redefining its role protecting water quality in northwest Montana, after legislators gutted its funding last November and its executive director was fired in February.

The Commission spent much of Wednesday reinventing itself.

An oily sheen on the shoreline of Flathead Lake near Somers, MT, May 2017.
Nicky Ouellet

A group tasked by the legislature to protect water quality in the Flathead Valley is in jeopardy after its funding was cut during Montana’s special legislative session in November and its executive director was terminated in February.

On Wednesday the Flathead Basin Commission will meet in Pablo and reassess its future.

Coal. File photo.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)

President Donald Trump Thursday ended a key Obama-era coal mining regulation. Montanans' reaction to the repeal of the Stream Protection Rule covered the gamut from elation to frustration. 

Gov. Steve Bullock speaks about the benefits of the Montana University System Research Initiative, Tuesday, August 18, 2015 on the UM campus.
Edward O'Brien

Two University of Montana programs will share over $3.5 million in state research funds. UM's traumatic brain injury and water quality monitoring programs are among the first to benefit from the "Montana University System Research Initiative". That's a $15 million program that passed out of the last session of the Montana legislature.

A lot of people know about the Berkeley Pit in Butte, but not many know about another significant pollution challenge in the Mining City. It’s called the Parrot Plume, and there’s controversy over whether it needs to be cleaned up, and if so, who would pay for it.

Shellfish In Montana: The Western Pearlshell

Jun 12, 2015

There are not many freshwater mussels west of the continental divide in Montana; in fact, there is only one native species here, the western pearlshell.