Volunteers and Science Help Determine Safe Swimming at Flathead
What's in the water that you've chosen to swim in? Volunteers, working with the University of Montana Flathead Lake Biological Station, Confederated Salish and Kootnai Tribe, and the national Swim Guide network, are finding out. A corps of volunteers, including the Flathead Lake Open Water Swimmers, started collecting weekly water samples last year from Polson's City Park, Salish Point and Boettcher Park. They sent them to the UM Flathead facility for E. coli testing, and next-day results were released to the public and posted on the national Swim Guide app. This year, the number of testing locations has increased. Adam Baumann, UM Freshwater Research Lab manager, said in a news release, "It's only going to keep growing. Not only at Flathead, but surrounding lakes as well. "
Tom Bansak, assistant director of Flathead Lake Biological Station said the national Swim Guide program provides daily information on over 7,000 swimming areas including the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Australia. Bansak said in a news release that local funding for the project has been provided by Mark and Joslyn Shackleford of Alpine Designs and Glenn Malloy of UBS Denver, along with the Greater Polson Community Foundation. The Swim Guide website and the local FLOW Swimmers site have more information. There's current information on the Clearwater River, too.