Water Wisdom: Factors contributing to last summer’s algae bloom

Water Wisdom: Factors contributing to last summer’s algae bloom

Source: Explore Big Sky
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The Gallatin River Task Force recorded the highest average weekly water temperature in the past ten years in the West Fork during the last week of July 2018. This week aligned with the beginning of the 2018 algae bloom and suggests that water temperature, in addition to elevated nutrients, may have been an important factor that contributed to increased algae growth.

These results corroborate recent findings from a Montana Department of Environmental Quality study on the Smith River. Chace Bell, MT DEQ water quality monitoring specialist, said that a suite of factors influences river algae growth, and that their analyses points toward drivers such as long-term increases in water temperature in the spring and early summer, nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations, hardness, pH and water velocity and clarity.