Bitterroot River Health Check


The Bitterroot River Health Check program is a community-based water quality monitoring program supported by of a collective of individual community members, local businesses, and non-profit organizations, as well as the Bitterroot College.


“Citizen Science” based

The Bitterroot River Health Check program sponsors a team of vounteer monitors trained in the protocols for taking water quality samples in the river, streams and lakes of the  Bitterroot River Basin. The all-volunteer teams work without charge to aid agencies such as DEQ, FWP and others in agency sponsored water quality montioring projects, in training and educational programs at the Bitterroot College and in university related research projects, as well as other independent water quality monitoring projects in the Bitterroot River watereshed.

Education oriented

The Bitterroot River Health Check Program has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bitterroot College University of Montana allowing for the use of college laboratory facilities and storage in exchange for the use of the river health program’s equipment for classroom educational purposes. The two cooperate in educational and training programs related to the Bitterroot River Watershed.


BIG CREEK COFFEE – “It takes clean water to make a good brew!”

For every bag of River Blend coffee sold, $1 goes to the Bitterroot River Health Check program

Bitterroot River Mainstem Water Quality Monitoring program 2017-2022

During the summer of 2017 a team of volunteer monitors from the Bitterroot River Health Check program began participating with DEQ, the Clark Fork Coalition and the University of Montana Watershed Health Clinic, in a long-term (currently funded for five years) water quality monitoring project for the Clark Fork River Basin. Our volunteers will be collecting samples at four sites along the Bitterroot River from the junction of the East and West Forks to Florence for five years. BRPA was successful in adding an additional monitoring to site to DEQ’s plan based on the nutrient and algae data report for the Bitterroot produced by Vicki Watson from the UM Watershed Health Clinic bracketing the City of Hamilton and its wastewater discharge plant by adding a station at the Main Street Bridge.

Bitterroot River Tributaries 2018

While we continue to monitor the Mainstem for trends, the plan for the 2018 season includes an expansion of the monitoring into five tributaries of the river including Rye Creek, Skalkaho Creek, Willow Creek, North Burnt Fork Creek, and Three Mile Creek.  Each of these streams flows out of Bitterroot National Forest Land and passes through private land with mixed agricultural and residential/subdivision development before discharging into the Bitterroot River.

All of these streams have been listed for some type of impairment or multiple impairments in the 2014 Bitterroot TMDL. Impairments vary for individual streams but include sedimentation, nutrients, temperature, low flow alterations, and alteration in stream-side or littoral vegetation.

Volunteer non-profit

The Bitterroot River Protection Association is a 501(C)(3) non-profit and donations to the Bitterroot River Health Check program are tax deductible. Donations to BRPA’s Bitterroot River Health Check program are spent only on equipment, supplies, laboratory/data analysis and professional services when required. Monitoring team members are all volunteers. All donors receive a complete accounting of all expenditures.

If you wish to donate to the Bitterroot River Health Check program you can go to, click on Bitterroot River Health Check and click the Donation Button. Be sure to add in the note option under the amount: “Health Check”

OR make your check out to: BRPA- Health Check and mail it to: BRPA- Health Check, P. O. Box 8 Stevensville, MT. 59870                                            For more information contact Michael Howell at 239-4838




Bitterroot River Protection Association

Bitterroot College University of Montana