After years of data collection and analysis, the Montana DEQ has released the draft “Madison Nutrient, E.coli, and Metal TMDLs and Water Quality Improvement Plan” for public comment (September 19, 2018). This document includes a broad range of information on stream conditions in the Madison, potential sources, and the recommendations to reduce impairments. The documents are available online, and comment period is open until 5 p.m., Friday, October 19, 2018. The document and information on submitting comments can be found on DEQ’s website at: http://deq.mt.gov/Public/publiccomment. You may also submit comments directly to me at CStaten@mt.gov, if preferred.
A public meeting was held on September 26, 2018 at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Madison Valley Public Library in Ennis (210 E. Main Street) to present the document and answer questions. Attendees heard a presnetation that explained the total maximum daily load (TMDL) process undertaken for tributaries of the Madison River that were determined to be impaired for nutrients (nitrogen or phosphorus), pathogens (E.coli), and/or metals (such as copper, iron, and lead). Specifically, the water bodies discussed included Elk, Hot Springs, Moore, O’Dell Spring, and South Meadow creeks. The presentation focused on why DEQ conducted water quality monitoring for these streams; the results of the monitoring; how nutrients, E.coli, and metals affect the streams and public health; and DEQ’s determinations on sources of these pollutants and suggested methods for improving water quality. Ethan Kunard, Water Programs Manager at the Madison Conservation District, followed with a discussion on how local efforts to monitor and improve water quality in the Madison River watershed are being undertaken.