Montana Public Radio

water

Year-to-date precipitation basin percentage of normal.
Natural Resources Conservation Service

Below-normal precipitation last month combined with warmer seasonal temperatures nibbled around the edges of Montana’s snowpack, but it could have been a lot worse.

It turns out that February’s bitter cold and record snowfall had an important upside. It bought Montana’s snowpack a little extra time during what turned out to be a very dry March.

A report released today by The Northern Plains Resource Council (NPRC) says a more thorough cleanup of the coal ash ponds at the Colstrip power plant will create more jobs and permanently stop groundwater contamination.
Northern Plains Resource Council

A report released today by The Northern Plains Resource Council (NPRC) says a more thorough cleanup of the coal ash ponds at the Colstrip power plant will create more jobs and permanently stop groundwater contamination.

Site of the the proposed Montana Artesian Water Company bottling plant near Creston, MT.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

A district judge has rescinded a water right for a water bottling plant near Kalispell.

Montana Artesian Water Company was granted a permit early last year to draw 710 acre feet of water per year by the state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Several groups appealed the permit, and on Tuesday Judge Kathy Seeley ruled in their favor.

Sub-basin snow water equivalent - March 1, 2019.
NRCS Montana Snow Survey Staff

February bucked all expectations of warmer-than-average temperatures and below normal snowfall.

“One of the things that is unique about this job is things can turn around pretty quickly, so you end up eating crow more often than you’d like,” says Lucas Zukiewicz, a water supply specialist with the Bozeman-based Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Hans McPherson at his ranch in the Bitterroot Valley.
Nick Mott / Montana Public Radio

A new federal rule that would roll back Clean Water Act protections across the country opened for public comment last week. If finalized, the rule would abandon enhanced protections the Obama administration proposed for a large portion of Montana’s stream mileage and wetlands.

This sign from Minnesota gives a glimpse into one possible future if invasive mussels become established in Montana.
Nicky Ouellet / Montana Public Radio

If invasive zebra and quagga mussels were to infest lakes in Montana, the state could lose more than a $230 million per year in mitigation costs and lost revenue, according to a report released Thursday from the Montana Invasive Species Council.

The University of Montana campus.
Josh Burnham / Montana Public Radio


Two University of Montana faculty members won a $1 million grant last week to help conservation groups improve water quality in the Atlantic Coast’s largest watershed.

Drinking fountain.
Joseph Thomas Photography / iStock

State agencies are working on a proposed rule change that early next year would require every public school in the state to test drinking water for lead. One of them, Department of Environmental Quality, also proposes funnelling some of its funding into new grants to help schools pay for testing and remediation.

Jeremy Fleege (L), an environmental engineer with Montana Resources, and Matt Vincent (R), an environmental consultant for MR, at a Stop I-186 event at Butte Brewing Company, October 24, 2018.
Nora Saks / MTPR

Campaign contributions in the fight over Montana ballot initiative 186 have roughly doubled over the last month, most of that money is backing opponents of the initiative’s proposed new regulations on mining. MTPR's Nora saks reports from one of their events in Butte. 

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

A proposal to ban new groundwater wells on the north end of Flathead Lake due to pollution concerns is moving forward.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation held a hearing Tuesday on a proposal to expand a ban on new groundwater wells on two additional properties near the former Somers Tie Plant.

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