A large number of streams in the Bitterroot Valley are now listed as "impaired" - they don't meet the standards for at least one of these uses:

  • Drinking water
  • Recreation (swimming)
  • Aquatic life
  • Water supply for Agriculture and industry.
  • Katie at the Bitter Root Water Forum said the Montana Department of Environmental Quality identified 34 streams in the valley's watershed that are on that list.

    The winter months give the Bitter Root Water Forum time to plan another season of projects to help the water quality, as they do every year. The forum's projects almost always focus on rebuilding plant growth at the edge of the streams.

    Get our free mobile app

    Katie of the Water Forum said that in 2022, they will add to those plans with work in the Threemile Creek area to help fish passage and deal with sediment issues. They also are looking at some erosion on the banks of the East Fork of the Bitterroot River. That area has been center of water forum activities over the last few years. And, as they did in the Stevensville area this year, the forum folks will partner with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks on improving the conditions at the Fishing Access Sites along the main stem of the Bitterroot.

    She said that the projects aim to shade some of the streams, establish root systems to hold back erosion, filter the "nonpoint course" pollutants and provide habitat for birds and wildlife. And they can always use more volunteers to help.

    Bitter Root Water Forum hats and shirts are good gifts, too. However, you want to purchase one for Christmas, the forum office at 178 South Second in downtown Hamilton will be closed until December 22.

    LOOK: Stunning vintage photos capture the beauty of America's national parks

    Today these parks are located throughout the country in 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The land encompassing them was either purchased or donated, though much of it had been inhabited by native people for thousands of years before the founding of the United States. These areas are protected and revered as educational resources about the natural world, and as spaces for exploration.

    Keep scrolling for 50 vintage photos that show the beauty of America's national parks.

    26 Intriguing Montana Books That Make Great Gifts

    Here are some great Montana books to consider as gifts for the holidays, or any time of year for birthdays and special occasions. There's something for the person who loves to read fiction, for the historian, and those who just love nature and views of the most gorgeous state in the nation.

    More From 94.9 KYSS FM