A long-awaited model for nutrient pollution in the Flathead Basin has been released, with mixed results . . .
A long awaited computer model for nutrient pollution in the Flathead Basin is completed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contracted with TetraTech to support development of the model, and a draft report on the model was released Nov. 3.
Deficiencies in the model are described in the draft report. While the model reportedly did well in simulating point sources, nonpoint source modeling proved difficult, an issue with political ramifications for the Flathead’s cities and towns, where officials are concerned about spending millions of dollars on treatment plants that will provide small incremental benefits to the watershed.
“There is uncertainty associated with the simulated loading results from many of the nonpoint sources,” the report concludes. “Given the lack of source-specific monitoring data, quantifying the uncertainty is not possible.”
Many nonpoint sources are caused by natural changes in the watershed, and the report states that “additional work outside of this modeling framework would be necessary to quantify the split between natural and anthropogenic (manmade) nonpoint sources.”
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Looks like snow snow accumulation is running a bit behind locally, but not in Western Montana generally . . .
The snowmen look a little shriveled, but western Montana’s 2012 snowpack has stuck close to average despite January’s wintry weather.
Readings from the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Bozeman show the Columbia Basin rivers of northwest Montana at 93 percent of their average precipitation. The Kootenai, Upper and Lower Clark Fork and Bitterroot are all right around 100 percent, with only the Flathead basin lagging at 86 percent of average.
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It looks like this would be a good time to start keeping a close eye on the hydrological forecast. The National Weather Service is expecting a steady rise in river and stream levels throughout the week. Here’s the latest write-up from the Missoulian . . .
The National Weather Service cautioned western Montanans this morning to be on alert for rising river and stream flows through midweek.
“Recent warm daytime temperatures and mild overnight temperatures have resulted in a resurgence of snowmelt being added to already swollen rivers and streams,” the Weather Service’s latest hydrologic outlook said.
“In addition, a low pressure system will affect the northern Rockies beginning late Monday through Wednesday. This weather system could deliver rainfall amounts ranging from 0.25 inches to 0.75 inches across western Montana.
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They did it. In the promised follow-up to last week’s announcement that British Columbia was halting all resource extraction activities in the Canadian Flathead, British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell and Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer met today in Vancouver, B. C. to sign an agreement banning mining and energy development throughout the transboundary Flathead Valley.
The Missoulian has the best coverage . . .
With an exchange of bolo ties and Olympic mittens, Gov. Brian Schweitzer and British Columbia Premier Gordon Campbell signed an agreement in Vancouver to ban mineral and energy extraction in the cross-border Flathead River Basin on Thursday morning.
“I’m not taking credit for this,” Schweitzer said after the ceremony. “There are people who’ve spent their lifetime working on this goal. I’ve run one lap. And now I’m handing the baton along to the congressional delegation. They have a tall order to convince their colleagues this is the right thing and the right time to do it.”
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For those of you who like to read source documents, here is the full text of the “Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation on Environmental Protection, Climate Action and Energy” signed today by Premier Campbell and Governor Schweitzer and witnessed by Kathryn Teneese, Chair of Ktunaxa Nation Council and Michel Kenmille, Council Member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.