By KAREN FILIPOVICH, PROFESSIONAL FACILITATOR
PHOTO BY AMANDA EGGERT
About 90 people came to hear information about the current and future ecological health of the rivers, water supply, and wastewater treatment and disposal at a community meeting held December 6 at Buck’s T-4 and led by the Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum. Big Sky has an opportunity to address future projected shortfalls in available water supply and limits to the current overall wastewater and disposal system capacity while preserving and enhancing the ecological health of the river systems. However, that future will not happen without a unified effort to address all three areas of water resources management. Participants asked questions ranging from specific facts about current wastewater treatment systems, possible incentives for developers to enhance the environment, to questions about reconciling values between stakeholders and engaging the community.
Fortunately, Big Sky is not in a crisis situation in managing its water resources. The Forum, hosted by the Gallatin River Task Force, has been established to identify effective solutions to benefit the environment, rivers, and the people who live in Big Sky and the larger Gallatin and Madison watersheds. Stakeholders, representing 35 diverse entities in Big Sky and downstream, are working proactively to build a community-based model for water stewardship.
The Forum will be working on collaboratively establishing goals for water resources management and identifying effective solutions that the community can choose to implement. For further information, please visit the project page.
Updates to the project page will occur as the process continues and the public is encouraged to stay informed and to offer input as the process continues. The next Big Sky Sustainable Water Solutions Forum stakeholder meeting is on January 12 and members of the public can listen in or stay updated through notes and materials.