DEQ Press Releases

Davin, Moira

DEQ to Hold Remote Public Meeting on Smith River Algae Study

HELENA—The Montana Department of Environmental Quality will host a remote public meeting April 8 to provide an update on an ongoing study of nuisance algae growth in the Smith River. The 2020 monitoring season was impacted by restrictions related to the pandemic but monitoring and sampling were conducted during spring runoff and for the peak algae season. The Smith River is located in central Montana in Meagher and Cascade counties and is a popular recreation spot, requiring a permit to float the river.

The Smith River Nuisance Algae Study launched in 2018 after observation and reports of excessive algae growth. Scientists are considering a variety of potential causes for the proliferation of Cladophora, a type of stringy green algae native to Montana. Changing air and water temperatures, levels of nutrients that promote algae growth, pH levels and water hardness are among the variables being studied.

The study’s first three seasons included sampling at multiple locations on the main stem of the Smith and in multiple tributaries. The 2020 season included analysis of the effects of late spring and early summer runoff from the watershed, as well as monthly monitoring in the main stem and tributaries. Weather, nutrients, discharge and water temperature continue to be monitored as part of the study.

The upcoming meeting is an opportunity for the public to learn about the study’s current findings and what’s planned for the ongoing study during the anticipated last field season in 2021. 

Remote Meeting via Zoom

When: Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 6 p.m.

Where: Participants can sign up to attend the meetings held via Zoom and receive instructions about how to access the meeting at: http://deq.mt.gov/Public/publicmeetings

The meetings are accessible both online and by telephone. DEQ will make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities who wish to participate in the meetings. If you require an accommodation or would like to register for the meetings by phone, please contact Moira Davin, Public Relations Specialist at: 406-461-2503 or by email at: Moira.Davin@mt.gov  

Participants are asked to join the meetings a few minutes early to test their connection. 

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