BHRF Current Focus

Water Quality & Macroinvertebrate Monitoring

Why Are We Monitoring?

There is a need for proactive, science-based management of this extraordinary resource. Monitoring will provide baseline conditions against which we can evaluate impacts and judge the improvement or deterioration of water quality.

This fundamental, long-term data is the cornerstone on which any meaningful future work will stand. It will contribute to the conservation conversation and better inform stakeholders, allowing them to approach management decisions with clarity.

BHRF is addressing this specific data gap while collaborating with others to keep this valley “The Last, Best Place”.

Why is Monitoring Important?

  • Freshwater is a finite resource as essential to agriculture and recreation in Montana as it is to basic human existence.

  • Monitoring provides the objective evidence necessary to make sound decisions on managing water quality today and in the future.

  • Water-quality monitoring is used to alert us to current, ongoing, and emerging problems; to determine compliance with drinking water standards, and to protect other beneficial uses of water (i.e agriculture, recreation, aquatic life)

  • Assessments based on monitoring data help law makers and water managers measure effectiveness of water policies, determine if water quality is getting better or worse, and formulate new policies to better protect human health and the environment.

What Does the Program Entail?

  • Water Chemistry

    • Chemical measurements of water quality provide data on pollutant concentrations

    • Specific parameters included in the chemical suite to be collected include: Total Persulfate Nitrogen, Nitrite+Nitrate, Total Phosphorus, Total Suspended Solids, Total Dissolved Solids, Turbidity, Dissolved Oxygen, pH, Specific Conductivity, Temperature.

  • Macroinvertebrates

    • Because mayflies, stoneflies, and caddisflies are sensitive to pollution and habitat degradation, the evaluation of the relative abundance is often used to evaluate water and habitat quality.​

    • Macroinvertebrate sampling can help us understand how chemical pollutants are affecting the biological health of the ecosystem.

BHRF Past Programs

Stewardship Fencing

We help landowners construct and maintain wildlife-friendly fencing to better manage livestock grazing, while protecting and restoring critical riparian areas of the Big Hole River and its tributaries.

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Native Species Restoration

We fund and support projects to restore and conserve populations of native fish species in the Big Hole River and its tributaries. We focus mainly on westslope cutthroat trout and fluvial Arctic grayling, and we support projects including fish passage projects, culvert removal, barriers to prevent non-native colonization.

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We provide, support, and offer educational opportunities for Big Hole communities. We offer adult educational presentations and partner with schools and teachers to educate the next generation of Big Hole River users and land stewards.  

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We protect, conserve, and enhance the free-flowing Big Hole River and its unique culture, fisheries, and wildlife.

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The Big Hole River Foundation is a 501(C)(3) public charity.
Big Hole River Foundation
PO Box 176
Divide, Montana 59727