Voice of the River

Call for Support: Resort Tax Comment Letters

Every year, the Gallatin River Task Force applies for funding from the Big Sky Resort Tax Area District. These funds are vital for ensuring we have the capacity to deliver for the river. During the allocation process, members of the public have the opportunity to show how much the Gallatin means to them by writing letters in support of our funding requests. These letters go a long way toward highlighting the importance of our work and how much the community values water conservation and river restoration.

This year, we’re asking our friends and neighbors to think of how our work has effected them and to take a moment to write in support of one of the key funding areas outlined below. We’ve also included some instructions for productive public comment. If you have the time, please consider writing a letter on our behalf so that we may continue to deliver at a high level for our favorite waterway.

Suggestions from the Resort Tax for productive public comment:

  • Include your full name and your address
  • Share your feedback for projects and their outcomes
    • For example: I support x project because it does y for the greater good of Big Sky
  • Broad based feedback for organizations does not communicate to the District why a project is important and therefore how project outcomes meet community need
    • For example: I support x organization, fully fund (does not communicate project outcomes)
  • Use the specific projects to create a connection to your personal experience in Big Sky and how the project is meaningful to that experience.
    • Did the accessible fishing access at Deer Creek allow a disabled family member new and better access?
    • Was fly fishing camp the highlight of your child’s summer? Did they teach you something new you didn’t know about water quality and trout health?
    • Has the Water Conservation program saved you money and empowered you to feel like you’re making a difference?
    • Did an article educate you about a critical water issue you previously didn’t understand and lead you to change your behavior or advocate for better water infrastructure?
      • Tap into your motivation for supporting the Task Force and base your letter on that, connecting it to one of the specific projects outlined in our application
  • If you are sharing written comment, please submit to info@resorttax.org by Thursday, October 29, 12 pm
  • If you would like to state public comment at the Resort Tax meeting:
    • Register for the Zoom meeting either on Tuesday, November 10, 5:30 pm 
    • Join the Zoom Webinar and “Raise Your Hand” (or use *9 if you join via phone) or use the “Chat” feature to share your public comment. A staff member will allow you to speak to the Board when the Chairman calls for public comment, or if you share using the chat feature a staff member will read your comment aloud.

Task Force Fall 2020 Requested Projects:

  1. Operations ($145,674): This will support the backbone of our organization and includes all staff time spent developing, fundraising, and executing the projects listed below and many others that we are not requesting Resort Tax funding for.
  2. Education and Outreach ($15,000): Our communications program provides critical support for and engagement in our projects, programs, and watershed issues that impact our community. Since the beginning of FY2021, we’ve seen an 83% increase in our Facebook engagement and a 16% increase in our Instagram reach. We have published a dozen articles in local news outlets and media sources, and even with uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, our volunteers almost doubled their Gallatin River Cleanup impact by collecting over 2,260 pounds of trash throughout the watershed. We view this outreach effort as vital to creating the next generation of river stewards.  
  3. Watershed Monitoring ($4,000): This request is specifically for field measurement of peak streamflow. Peak flow measurement is critical to calculate accurate streamflow at our four streamflow stations to guide watershed management decisions and watershed planning to address growth and climate change.
  4. Watershed Restoration and Enhancement ($10,500): $10K is approximately 50% of the funding to further the design plans for a restoration project at Porcupine / Beaver Creek to improve access to public land and waterways and offset the ecologic impacts (i.e.  streamside vegetation destruction and erosion) of unmanaged dispersed recreation. Proposed improvements include riparian buffer enhancements, improved fish passage, restored wetlands, and enhanced trail and river access. $500 is to support our community dog waste cleanup day. Pet waste has been identified as a major source of nitrogen pollution in our recently finalized Nutrient Assessment and Reduction Plan, and last year in partnership with the Big Sky Community Organization, volunteers collected over 283 pounds of waste, keeping over one trillion fecal coliform colonies from entering our waters. We look forward to expanding on that effort to increase that impact.
  5. Water Supply Resiliency Projects ($22,500): This request is for water supply resiliency planning and project work. As a headwaters community, Big Sky has limited groundwater and surface water resources. The Water Supply Resilience planning will increase Big Sky’s resilience to community growth, drought, climate variability, natural disasters, and system failures that have the potential to severely impact water supplies for drinking water and the river. Outcomes include: continuation of the Big Sky Water Conservation Program (i.e. residential indoor/outdoor rebates, Trout-Friendly Landscape), expansion of the Water Conservation Program to the commercial sector, and development of a Drought Management and Response Plan.
  6. Stormwater Infrastructure Mapping, Modeling Project Identification and Design ($27,500): Stormwater can greatly impact water quality and quantity by changing the timing of water flowing through our community. Like many other issues in Big Sky, stormwater does not have coordinated management across the Big Sky community. This project will map stormwater infrastructure, model stormwater flow and identify potential projects that will be most effective at improving water quality and reroute runoff to infiltrate into groundwater. 

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