While we are still a young and growing organization, we have already accomplished many important strategic initiatives toward a better understanding of the river. Our initial projects were to commission evidence-based scientific studies on the current conditions relating to the insect populations, plant biomass and water quality. Our studies of the macroinvertebrates (bugs) in the river initiated in 2014,
have given us a greater understanding of the changes that influence this vital insect population. We have designed and initiated an aquatic plant study which will ultimately determine the precise presence and extent of this plant growth as well as identifying the causes contributing to the excessive growth of plants and vegetation that choke much of the river in the summer and fall.
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The Upper Missouri Watershed Alliance has undertaken water quality studies in the main stem of the upper Missouri river since 2015. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MT DEQ) has supported these studies through a grant each year. We are definitely concerned about the significant increase in two important nutrients in 2017; nitrogen and phosphorous when compared to the 2016 study. We intend to expand our studies and determine the trend of this increase as well as the potential impact on the river.