Growing up in the Paradise Valley and Livingston meant growing up alongside one of the West’s most storied rivers — the Yellowstone. As a young kid, I knew the Yellowstone River for its seasonal fly hatches, influence and power during flood stages, and cool reprieve when it came to offer late summer swimming holes. It was a body of water to be enjoyed for pleasure and respected for its strength. Most importantly, to this day it is a wild place flowing through my town where I can find peace, guidance and inspiration no matter what life throws my way. Indeed, who I am today has much to do with my habit since a young teenager of going down to the river to unwind, think and gain clarity on my world.

As I matured into my early twenties I developed a strong appreciation for local agriculture. With that, I came to realize that the clean water of the Yellowstone and its headwaters is more than a playground, it is important source water for irrigating crops and supporting local agricultural.

In 2013 I co-founded Montana Roots as a small farm that uses sustainable and organic agriculture practices to grow healthy, vibrant food year-round. Located on Livingston’s 9th Street Island and surrounded by the Yellowstone River, we use aquaponics as our main method of growing food which is a symbiotic method of raising fish and plants together in a recirculating ecosystem.

We are fortunate to be connected to and surrounded by the healthy waters of the Yellowstone River. That is why, as a business owner I support the Montana Headwaters Security Act — draft legislation to protect some of Montana’s iconic streams on public lands as Wild & Scenic Rivers, including a segment of the Upper Yellowstone from Gardiner to Carbella Fishing Access Site. This draft legislation protects water quality for agriculture producers and recreation users alike, in perpetuity.

In a time when river conservation in Montana brings locals together, I’d like to see Montana’s Senators Jon Tester and Steve Daines, and Rep. Greg Gianforte introduce and pass the Montana Headwaters Security Act now. Give them a call and ask for this bill’s introduction: Senator Jon Tester 202-224-2644; Senator Steve Daines 202-224-2651; Congressman Greg Gianforte 202-225-3211

Sam Mascari

Montana Roots (montanaroots.org)


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