Volunteer program helping Northwest Montana lakesSource: KPAX
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By Winston Greeley
EUREKA – Northwest Montana is home to about 400 lakes and a volunteer program aims to keep some of those lakes in pristine condition.
Tetrault Lake in Northwest Montana has a strong advocate in Carol Blake, “when they see me out here with my gear they know I’m caring for the lake and recording.”
For the past 10 years, Blake has voluntarily monitored water quality and helped educate other lake residents, in order, to keep her lake healthy.
“People have stopped improving their shoreline, i would say that is the main thing. They have stopped fertilizing their lawns and so it doesn’t run off into the lake, they’re just more cognizant of taking care of the shoreline,” Blake said.
The volunteer lake monitoring program is a collaborative effort between Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Whitefish Lake Institute to monitor water quality on more than 40 lakes in Northwest Montana.
“The biggest concern that we hear from everybody is aquatic invasive species and what will that do to our lake and so it is people like Carol who got out and try and inform the neighbors about what might be the results of infestations in the lake,” said Josh Gubits with the Whitefish Lake Institute.
The success of this lake monitoring program is largely due to volunteers, whose efforts benefit anglers, recreationists and residents.
“It’s amazing the group of people that you get that want to get engaged and care about the environment. So, it’s a great tool for us, for state agencies and for the natural resources to use these people,” said FWP’s John Wachsmuth.
The Northwest Montana volunteer lake monitoring program is looking for more volunteers; to participate contact the Whitefish Lake Institute.