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Montana’s Smith River Algae Crowdsourcing Project

Montana's Smith River Algae Crowdsourcing Project

EPA Region 8, EPA, Montana Department of Environmental Quality, and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks

State environmental agencies in Montana have received messages of public concern about the state of algae growth along the Smith River, a premier river recreation destination. Nitrogen and phosphorous pollution is a serious and pervasive problem throughout the US, resulting in nuisance algae growth and other water quality impacts. Collecting the information needed to evaluate algae growths along a 59-mile stretch of the river is a challenge. This project involves capturing crowdsourced data by asking the public to provide critical information about the river during float season. By collecting photographs and documenting algae along the river, citizen scientists will provide information that state agencies can use to determine potential causes and solutions. Project success will demonstrate that a collaborative partnership between citizens and state and federal programs can contribution meaningfully to scientific investigation and problem-solving.

Project lead: Jason Gildea (