Armchair Activist

In December 2001, American Wildlands submitted a petition to the Montana Board of Environmental Review to designate the Gallatin River, from Yellowstone Park to the Spanish Creek confluence, as Montana’s first Outstanding Resource Water (ORW). The petition had over 2,000 signatures and endorsements from 75 local businesses, as well as approval from the Bozeman City Commission and the Gallatin County Commission. ORW status will prevent permanent degradation of the Gallatin’s water quality under the Montana Water Quality Act. It is the only direct way that we can absolutely ensure that the Gallatin River will remain as clear and healthy as it is today for generations to come.

Unfortunately, achieving ORW status is a long and complicated process. Recently, the issue received Senate approval to fund the $250,000 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). If approval is also received from the House of Representatives, the Montana Board of Environmental Review will give a recommendation to the State Legislature after the EIS is completed, who in turn will make the final decision regarding the fate of the mighty Gallatin. The American Wildlands website ( has excellent, detailed information on this entire process, including a timeline, copy of the petition, and an easy-to-read FAQ section that will get you up to speed on the need for ORW protection. Join the American Wildlands Alert Network to keep posted on the progress and needs of this action. Just five minutes is enough to contact your state legislators and let them know that you want the Gallatin River protected now.

To call the State Legislature, simply dial (406) 444-4800 and ask to leave a message for the representative you wish to contact. These messages are taken seriously—the lawmakers often listen to them every day. For more information, contact Amy Stix, water program coordinator for American Wildlands, at 586-8175 or [email protected]