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DEQ identifies 20 Madison River tributaries not meeting water quality standards

DEQ identifies 20 Madison River tributaries not meeting water quality standards

Madison River

Twenty tributaries to the Madison River are not meeting state water quality standards, according to a Department of Environmental Quality report.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is seeking comments, and holding a remote public meeting, on a draft water quality improvement plan for 20 Madison River tributaries.

The draft “Madison Sediment and Temperature TMDLs and Water Quality Improvement Plan” describes and discusses water quality problems related to sediment and water temperature. The tributaries are currently not meeting Montana’s water quality standards.

Total maximum daily load is a plan that identifies the maximum amount of pollutant a water can receive while still meeting water quality standards. The document outlines a strategy for reducing pollutant concentrations in order to meet those standards, but action by water districts or landowners is voluntary. 

DEQ’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Program assists interested parties by providing technical expertise, guidance, and assistance with obtaining funding ( DEQ also offers $1 million in grants annually to conservation districts, local watershed groups, nonprofits and government entities to fund water quality improvement projects. 

DEQ is hosting a remote public meeting on Aug. 6 at 5 p.m. for the public to learn more about the Madison plan. Participants can join at: A call-in option is also available using 406-444-9999 and ID: 967 9117 8706

If participants wish to join by phone, they may follow along with the presentation by downloading it ahead of time at: The presentation will be made available shortly before the meeting. Participants can find additional details on the Madison TMDL project at the same link. A recording of the meeting will be available on the website after the meeting.

Public comments will be accepted until 5 p.m., Aug. 20. To view the draft document and submit comments electronically, visit the DEQ website at: The document can also be viewed via the free public computer at the Madison Valley Public Library in Ennis. Comments can also be mailed to: DEQ, Water Quality Planning Bureau, P.O. Box 200901, Helena, MT 59620.


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