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Spring Showers
This is Why... Greg McCormick
Voices of Our Volunteers - Ron & Marilyn Roberts
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Spring Showers Bring Flowers and Nonpoint Source Pollution
The snowpack is melting and spring showers are giving life to Montana’s array of spring flowers.  All around the valley water is flowing and recharging our lakes and rivers. 

A single drop of water seems so insignificant, disappearing before it’s even noticed.  Yet, water has the power to carve canyons, shape our landscape, devastate communities, feed millions, and inspire.  It is a force to be reckoned with.  It moves across our landscape in ways that are difficult to imagine if you aren’t a hydrologist. The water in our valley travels across pristine mountains and through forests, eventually making its way through parking lots, construction sites, farm fields, neighborhoods, and our yards, picking up everything it can along the way. 

Just as small amounts of water can seem insignificant at times, so can small amounts of pollution. But this polluted runoff, also called nonpoint source pollution, can have harmful impacts when it reaches our rivers and lakes. Unfortunately, it is hard to pinpoint its sources, and it can be difficult to effectively regulate and control. 

Nonpoint source pollution enters our rivers and lake as sediments, nutrients, and chemicals. Sediments can cause turbidity in the water, decreasing light penetration and negatively impacting the balance of healthy aquatic life.  They come from eroding stream banks, construction sites, highly disturbed landscapes, and agricultural fields. Nutrients, most significantly nitrogen and phosphorous, come by way of failing septic systems, livestock, fertilizers, leaching of landfills, pet waste, and atmospheric sources.  These nutrients feed the phytoplankton and algae in the lake and cause eutrophication.  All across the country, lakes are turning green… pea green. 

Flathead Lake is a clear jewel, sitting near the top of the Columbia River watershed.  Most of the water draining into Flathead Lake has made its way through unspoiled and protected landscapes.  But what isn’t protected by its remoteness, we must protect in order to keep Flathead Lake clean, and downstream waters in the Flathead, Clark Fork, and Columbia Rivers as well.  Nonpoint source pollution is like death from a thousand cuts, but that means that the solution is in our hands.  The small things we do around our individual properties and in our communities DO make a difference.  Having a beautiful buffer garden, instead of lawn down to the water, soaks up those nutrients and stops the sediments from entering the lake…. giving us beautiful flowers and healthy trees instead of a pea green lake. 

Flathead Lake is feeling the pressures of increasing nonpoint source pollution.  Just as nonpoint source pollution is an accumulation of many small pollution sources, we can protect our lake by all of us making small, lake-friendly changes … nonpoint source solutions we are all a part of!

The Flathead Lakers are working to prevent nonpoint source pollution around the watershed.  Our ‘Ripples of Change’ grant from Montana DEQ is funding projects to restore buffers on Ashley Creek and Flathead Lake.  We are expanding our BMPs Toolkit, which has informative fact sheets that can help you make positive changes for the lake.  We are also conducting site visits for lakeshore landowners interested in understanding lake-friendly practices that help prevent nonpoint source pollution. If you would like a site visit, contact me at 883-1341 or hilary@flatheadlakers.org. Visits can be conducted on a weekend with advanced notice. 

Together, we can keep Flathead Lake a clear jewel.

                                                                        –Hilary Devlin, Education & Outreach Coordinator
This is Why...
I’ve heard too many stories of how rivers, streams, lakes, forests, mountains, and valleys “used to be.”  You know the stories...those telling us how pristine things were. 

I want kids a hundred years from now to be able to climb a rock and launch into a clear, clean Flathead Lake.  I want them to spy a beautiful fish with crimson gills and use their best deception to get it to bite.

Flathead Lake has a 6 million acre watershed.  Over 4 million acres have been protected by the creation of Glacier National Park, Great Bear and Bob Marshall Wilderness areas.  I want to do what I can to shape policy and practice to minimize the negative impacts on the remaining lands. 

The Flathead Lakers have worked to protect water quality since 1958.  It’s good work.  I think everyone should understand and appreciate the rarity of this water body.  I think everyone should support the work being done to protect it.

 
…I’ve served on the board of the Flathead Lakers for
12 years.  
-Greg McCormick
Voices of Our Volunteers
Ron and Marilyn Roberts
 

Ron and I moved back to my native Montana over 10 years ago.  It seemed a natural fit for both of us to become members of the Flathead Lakers, since we have both been involved in environmental issues throughout our lives.   The mission of the Lakers to protect the quality of the lake ensures an important economic future for the Flathead and Mission Valleys; additionally, it is of vital significance for the quality of life for us, and future generations as well.
 
A simple way to participate in our community is the semi-annual highway clean-up.  We help the Lakers on Hwy. 35, and also care for a stretch in the Big Arm area along Hwy. 93.  For just a few hours work twice a year, it is so rewarding to keep our highways clean (and no, we haven’t found anything of value yet)!
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Science on Tap-Flathead
 
Join us on the first Tuesday of each month in Bigfork at the
Flathead Lake Brewing Company.

Scientists from around the region share their work in a fun and approachable way. These events are sponsored by the Flathead Lakers and the Flathead Lake Biological Station with support from the Flathead Lake Brewing Company.

Check out: 
www.scienceontapflathead.org for a schedule and archived videos of past events. 
Flathead Lakers' Walk and Talk Tours present
Flowering Rush: Finding a Solution

Friday May 13 1:30-2:30  
Join Virgil Dupuis (CSKT) and Peter Rice (UM) for a tour of their Flowering Rush eradication study site.  Ask your questions and join the conversation. 
Click here for more information.


Flathead Lakers' 2nd Annual Poker Paddle

July 10, 2016

Register Now!
Site Visits
 
Have you wondered what you can do around your property to be more ‘lake-friendly’?  Are you interested in learning about best management practices (BMPs) that would lessen your impact on the lake? 

Schedule a free site visit today. Site visits can be done any time of the year without snow and on weekends with advanced notice.
 
Contact Hilary Devlin, Education and Outreach Coordinator at 883-1341 or hilary@flatheadlakers.org 
Volunteer 
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Copyright ©2016 Flathead Lakers, All rights reserved.

Thank you for your support for the Flathead Lakers and our work to protect Flathead Lake and clean water in its watershed.

Flathead Lakers

PO Box 70, Polson, MT 59860  (406) 883-1346  lakers@flatheadlakers.org  www.flatheadlakers.org

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