Voice of the River

August is National Water Quality Month

Half to three quarters of the human body is composed of water. We couldn’t live without water, flowing in and around us.

The Environmental Protection Agency designated August as National Water Quality Month to celebrate clean water. Here are five ways to protect healthy rivers:

  1. Pick up after your pet. Rain and melting snow wash pet waste into our waterways. Pet waste can threaten human health by spreading parasites and diseases or impact water quality by carrying excess nutrients.
  2. Reduce your plastic use. Small pieces of plastic are found in rivers, lakes, and oceans worldwide. Microplastics attract other pollutants, including triclosan and PCPs, which can be absorbed by aquatic organisms. These pollutants accumulate over time to threaten both wildlife and human health.
  3. Properly dispose of pharmaceuticals. Out of date medicine flushed down the toilet can make its way into rivers, lakes, and groundwater. Instead, the FDA website has detailed instructions for how to get rid of old medicine through an authorized collector or by throwing pharmaceuticals away in household trash.
  4. Cultivate a trout friendly lawn and garden. Keep rivers healthy and clean by: using appropriate amounts of organic fertilizers; limiting herbicides and pesticides; planting native plants and restoring streambanks; and conserving water.
  5. Volunteer to monitor water quality. The Task Force and a team of citizen scientists have monitored water quality in the Upper Gallatin Watershed since 2000. Contact stephanie@gallatinrivertaskforce.org to find out more about opportunities to conduct fine sediment surveys, collect macro invertebrates, and participate in a quarterly water quality monitoring event.

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