Unless concerned citizens speak up, we may lose the opportunity to spend our days enjoying one of Montana’s most beautiful natural resources, the Gallatin River. Development in the river floodplain for private gain is at the expense of the river quality and community, and especially dangerous in the floodway. Foamy mounds of pollution collecting in the eddies and on the surface water of the Gallatin River have become common sightings in recent years.
Right now, Gallatin County’s floodplain regulations are under review by the county commissioners. The lawful intent of these regulations should be to protect the health and safety of the community and the river habitat but, instead, the regulations can allow private development in the regulatory floodway through ambiguous or contradictory words and phrases. Laws that provide protections of the river and surrounding community need to be made more stringent, not less, and without wiggle room for developers.
The river and the community are best served with clear, concise and complete protections for the river and its surrounding habitat that yield healthy water quality and clean recreational
Citizens need to ask themselves what is important to them and future generations. Are you concerned about inadequately treated septic effluent flowing into the formerly pristine Gallatin River or about privatized glampgrounds in the floodplain along popular public access spots? Speak now or do not complain when toxic algal blooms make the river unusable as a fishery and recreational playground.
Do not complain about serious overcrowding at public accesses. Do not complain when toxic pesticides and herbicides are indiscriminately used, draining into the Gallatin River, irrigation water or groundwater making the formerly prized Blue Ribbon Trout Stream status of the Gallatin River a thing of the past. It will be insidious, and then it may be too late.
Bozeman Daily Chronicle Letter to the Editor 2/28/21