Nonpoint Source Pollution

Western Montana is home to large clear lakes, clean cold rivers, and extensive groundwater resources that support our economy, promote robust ecological benefits and environmental services, and provide vast recreational opportunities to our community. Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution is the leading cause of water quality issues in the United States and Montana. NPS pollution originates from sources that are difficult to pinpoint and are spread through runoff, precipitation, drainage, atmospheric deposition, or seepage. The water transports natural and human-made pollutants, depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, and aquifers. NPS pollution includes excess fertilizers, pesticides, oil, sediment, salts, as well as bacteria and nutrients from livestock and septic systems. These pollutants have significant harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries, and wildlife in Montana’s watersheds. Because of its dispersed nature, reducing NPS pollution requires us all to be mindful of the impact we have on the landscape.