Nonpoint Source Pollution

Nonpoint Source Pollution

Nonpoint source pollution typically comes from diffuse sources, such as grazing, timber harvest, abandoned mine lands, irrigation, recreation, and septic systems. It includes a wide range of pollutants and conditions, including nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), heavy metals, sediment, loss of riparian habitat, streamflow alteration, and temperature changes. Montana’s goal is to provide a clean and healthy environment by protecting and restoring water quality from the harmful effects of nonpoint source pollution. We believe this can best be achieved through voluntary implementation of land, soil, and water conservation practices.


Check out the Water Quality Dashboard


Through the 319 Project Program, DEQ provides approximately $900,000 each year to local watershed groups, conservation districts, educational institutions, and government entities to design and implement on-the-ground projects that reduce and prevent nonpoint source pollution. Increasingly, DEQ is focusing funding on projects that will restore natural processes (e.g., stream channel migration, floodplain connectivity, native riparian revegetation) and are likely to result in measurable improvements in water quality. Check out the interactive map below to find out what we’ve been funding, or visit the 319 Project Program website to learn about funding opportunities.

Interactive Projects Map

The Department of Environmental Quality's nonpoint source program staff work with watershed groups, conservation districts, and state and federal agency partners to provide training, encourage the adoption of sustainable best management practices, and respond to emerging water quality issues. We frequently respond to water quality-related questions, provide on-site project consultation for potential projects, assist with watershed planning efforts, and help connect groups with appropriate funding partners and resources. Please contact any of our staff below for assistance

Contact Name Title Phone Email
Kristy Fortman Section Supervisor 406-444-7425
Robert Ray   406-444-5319
Mark Ockey   406-444-5351
Eric Trum   406-444-0531
Hannah Riedl   406-444-0549

DEQ provides limited funding for education and outreach through our E&O Mini-Grants Program, administered by Soil and Water Conservation. We are also often available to provide group presentations on a wide range of watershed health topics. DEQ provides significant support to watershed groups through partnerships and joint projects with the Montana Watershed Coordination Council, Montana Association of Conservation Districts, and state and federal agency partners.

Check out the education and outreach materials below that the 319 Program helped fund.
Topic Summary Project Sponser
Boating Lake-friendly fueling: a factsheet Flathead Lakers
Landownership, an online resource for buying, selling, or improving land along lakes, streams, and rivers. Lewis and Clark Conservation District
Lawn maintenance Lake-friendly lawns: a factsheet Flathead Lakers
Livestock Management Avoiding algal issues in stockwater ponds: a magazine article MSU Extension
Livestock Management On-site Guide for Livestock Operators Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Montana
Pet Waste Poop Scoop Signs Gallatin Valley Land Trust
Riparian areas Riparian Awareness Campaign: a video (30 seconds) Missoula Valley Water Quality District
Riparian areas Channel migration zones and easements: The Shape of a River, short video (12 minutes) Montana Aquatic Resources Services
Septic Systems A factsheet Flathead Lakers
Septic Systems A checklist to maintain your septic system's record Flathead Lakers
Streams Montana Stream Permitting: A Guide for Conservation District Supervisors and Others Multiple partners
Watersheds An "augmented reality sandbox" for use as an education tool. Visit Lake County CD's webiste to learn more, and check out the Lake County Conservation District
Watersheds Audio and printed watershed stories, featuring individuals and organizations around the state. Montana Watershed Coordination
Winter maintenance Winter de-icing: a factsheet Flathead Lakers