Project Details

Providing a framework for implementing water quality improvements for sediment, nutrient, and E. coli pollutants on 15 impaired stream segments in the Lower Gallatin Watershed.

Client: Greater Gallatin Watershed Council
Time Span: 2013 - 2014
Location: Western Montana


RESPEC completed the Lower Gallatin Watershed Restoration Plan (WRP), which was approved by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in December 2014. The Lower Gallatin WRP provides a framework for implementing water quality improvements for sediment, nutrient, and E. coli pollutants on the 15 impaired stream segments in the Lower Gallatin Watershed.

To help identify potential restoration projects on these 15 streams and their tributaries, RESPEC held a series of public meetings with the theme of "Community-Based Stream Improvement" in January and February 2014. These community meetings provided the public an opportunity to provide input on potential stream and wetland restoration projects within the watershed that would lead to improved water quality.

During the Lower Gallatin WRP community meetings and online survey, more than 100 people offered input on the value of streams in the Lower Gallatin Watershed and provided ideas for stream and watershed improvement. As a result, 41 potential projects and restoration activities were identified.

Restoration projects to reduce pollutant loads to the impaired stream segments and their tributary streams included streambank stabilization and revegetation; riparian buffer enhancement; unpaved road improvements; traction sand management; residential, urban, forestry, agricultural, and stormwater best management practices (BMPs); and on-site subsurface wastewater treatment system upgrades.

RESPEC developed a project-screening tool to evaluate the merits of each potential project relative to overall watershed goals and the ability to address the sources of pollution to impaired streams. Each project was ranked for (1) stream and watershed improvement potential, (2) landowner and community support, and (3) availability of necessary resources.

Completing the Lower Gallatin WRP enabled the Greater Gallatin Watershed Council and other groups within the Lower Gallatin Watershed to obtain funding through the Montana DEQ 319 program for complementary water quality improvement projects on impaired stream segments.