DEQ Press Releases

Davin, Moira

DEQ to Hold Public Meetings on Smith River Algae Study

HELENA—The Montana Department of Environmental Quality will hold an online public meeting March 18 in Helena. DEQ scientists will share their findings from an ongoing study of nuisance algae growth in the Smith River. 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.


In 2015, DEQ and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks began receiving numerous reports of excessive algae growth interfering with recreational activities along the popular river.  After initial observation by the agencies during the 2016 and 2017 field seasons, DEQ launched an intensive Smith River Nuisance Algae Study in 2018.


In the study’s first two seasons, DEQ sampled at multiple locations on the main stem of the Smith and in multiple tributaries.  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.


DEQ will release new information on phosphorus studies and findings related to changes in water temperature. 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 2020 field season.  Due to COVID-19 concerns, the original public meetings have been cancelled and DEQ is hosting an online meeting via live stream on DEQ's YouTube page on Wednesday, March 18 at 3 p.m. 


Virtual Meeting via Livestream


When: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.


For more information on the meetings, or to make special needs accommodations, contact Moira Davin at (406) 444-6360 or by email at: 

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