RIVER IN PERIL

About River in Peril:

Author Pat Munday once referred to the Big Hole River as “Montana’s Last Best River.” The multitudes who cherish the Big Hole, be they ranchers, anglers, photographers or outfitters, would likely agree with Munday’s assessment.

They would probably concur also that the river is in peril – facing threats from climate change, prolonged drought, irrigation withdrawals, pollution from nutrients, being loved to death by recreationists, development and more. The summer of 2021 posed grim challenges. Current conditions suggest 2022 might buckle the knees of anyone who cares about the Big Hole River.

Fortunately, groups like the Big Hole River Watershed Committee and the Big Hole River Foundation are working to address issues over which their members might have some measure of control. Protecting the health of the Big Hole River will likely require collaboration among these groups, and the many others that care about the future of the valley.  

Work on this series began in the summer of 2021. The stories, produced by reporters with The Montana Standard, focus on water quantity and quantity, the history of the Big Hole Valley and the threat of development.

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