PLATINUM2023

Gallatin River Task Force

Clean River. Healthy Community

aka Blue Water Task Force   |   Big Sky, MT   |  www.gallatinrivertaskforce.org

Mission

Partner with our greater community to lead conservation and inspire stewardship of the Gallatin River Watershed.

Ruling year info

2005

Chief Executive and Science Officer

Kristin Gardner PhD

Chief Operating Officer

Emily O’Connor

Main address

1700 Lone Mountain Trail PO Box 160513

Big Sky, MT 59716 USA

Show more contact info

Formerly known as

BLUE WATER TASK FORCE

EIN

74-3127146

NTEE code info

Water Resource, Wetlands Conservation and Management (C32)

Natural Resource Conservation and Protection (C30)

Energy Resources Conservation and Development (C35)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Blog

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The Gallatin River is approaching a crisis point. Algae blooms are an annual threat; climate change is here, driving more intense drought; and population growth is pushing our natural resources to the brink. With this urgency in mind, what steps must we take as a community to protect the river that we love? That is the question that the Gallatin River Task Force set out to answer, and this strategic plan is our blueprint for success. To ensure that water quality and quantity in the Gallatin improves, science must dictate our actions. Through continued monitoring and analysis, we have prioritized projects with the highest impact. In order to undo the wrongs of the past and plan for the future, we as a community must commit to a culture of conservation. We are privileged to live in this special place, and we cannot take its beauty for granted. We can and must become a model for headwaters communities across the country.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Water Monitoring

Since 2000, the Task Force and our partners have gathered water data to evaluate the health of the Upper Gallatin River Watershed, identify trends, determine impacts of unforeseen events, and guide restoration project and resource management priorities.


Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth

The Gallatin River and its tributaries provide world renowned cutthroat trout fisheries, wildlife habitat, and an incredible array of recreational opportunities. Additionally, the watershed provides drinking water for Big Sky and communities downstream. While the blue-ribbon-waterways may appear pristine, they are under tremendous pressure from increased population growth and land development. To solve the problem, we’re working with a variety of partners to implement on-the-ground restoration projects at over 100 degraded river sites to improve water quality, habitat conditions, and build climate change resiliency.

Population(s) Served

Water conservation is the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to thrive through drought, stretch water supplies, and protect the Gallatin River. The Big Sky Water Conservation program is one of only two programs in Montana that seeks to inspire community members to engage in practices that save water, both at home and work. By partnering with major water managers, homeowners’ associations, property managers, developers, and other influential organizations, the Gallatin River Task Force is promoting water conservation in Big Sky with a goal of reducing community water use by 20% by 2025.

Population(s) Served

Through informed advocacy and outreach to the community, we are protecting, restoring, and conserving the Gallatin while developing the next generation of river stewards. From advocacy for federal and state protections for the Gallatin River to in-classroom curriculum development, the Task Force is inspiring a conservation ethic throughout the Big Sky community and the Upper Gallatin Watershed. We believe an educated community is an invested community, and the more people we reach the better chance the river has of staying clean and cold, now and in the future.

Population(s) Served
Adults
Children and youth
Adults
Children and youth
Adults
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of river miles being monitored

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Water Monitoring

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

The Task Force monitors water quality on the mainstem of the Gallatin River and its tributaries, ranging from Yellowstone National Park to the Spanish Creek confluence.

Number of stakeholders or stakeholder groups who agree to engage

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Big Sky Water Conservation

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Headwaters Alliance Partners and Stakeholders

Number of new champions or stakeholders recruited

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of volunteers

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Other - describing something else

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Conservation is a value in and of itself. As conservationists, we can set an example of how to live in better harmony with nature, not to restrict or impair, but rather to give and preserve. At the Gallatin River Task Force, it is our goal to give the gift of the Gallatin to future generations. Driving that goal are a set of values upon which we base our work. In addition to our own organizational values, the Task Force adheres to the Watershed
Approach to conservation. We believe that taken together, these ethics will produce lasting, long-term solutions to the challenges facing the Gallatin River Watershed. THE TASK FORCE VALUES: Scientific Credibility: We are guided by science and best practices. Collaboration: We value partnerships in our work on water issues. Watershed Integrity: We work to ensure the integrity of a healthy river through protection and restoration. Conservation: We promote sustainable management of our water resources. Education: We believe in the power of education
and engagement to build river stewardship.

THE WATERSHED APPROACH: IS TIED TO A DISTINCT LAND AREA OR HYDROLOGIC BOUNDARY,
ENSURES BROAD STAKEHOLDER, INVOLVEMENT AND INCLUSIVITY IS COMMUNITY-BASED AND
COMMUNITY-DRIVEN, RELIES ON LOCAL LEADERSHIP, ENCOURAGES COLLABORATION WITH PARTNERS,
STRIVES FOR CONSENSUS, SEEKS TO AVOID LITIGATION AS A CONSERVATION STRATEGY

GUIDED BY SCIENCE: AS IT HAS SINCE OUR FOUNDING, DATA WILL CONTINUE TO DRIVE OUR WORK, HELPING US: PLAN FOR THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, MITIGATE NUISANCE ALGAE GROWTH, IMPROVE WATER QUALITY & CONSERVE WATER SUPPLY, RESTORE DEGRADED HABITAT AND MONITOR EVOLVING CONDITIONS

Our success is contingent on expanding our monitoring network to reveal unfavorable conditions and how we can improve them.

INSPIRED BY NATURE - DECADES OF DISTURBANCE HAVE LEFT OUR WATERWAYS FLOODED WITH POLLUTANTS.
BY ADOPTING A RESTORE, REDUCE, AND REUSE ETHIC, WE WILL IMPROVE WATER QUALITY AND QUANTITY IN THE GALLATIN RIVER TRIBUTARIES BY: SUSTAINABLY MANAGING RIVER-BASED RECREATION BY COMPLETING 100
RESTORATION PROJECTS OVER THE NEXT TEN YEARS IN THE GALLATIN CORRIDOR; RESTORING THE WEST FORK, SOUTH FORK, AND MIDDLE FORK TO STATE WATER QUALITY STANDARDS; EXPANDING WASTEWATER REUSE AND
RECYCLING OPTIONS THAT BENEFIT THE GALLATIN; UPGRADING WASTEWATER TREATMENT IN GALLATIN CANYON AND OTHER AREAS ON SEPTIC SYSTEMS; REDUCING CONSUMPTIVE WATER USE BY 33 MILLION GALLONS BY 2025
AND DECREASING STORMWATER RUNOFF THROUGH IMPROVED LAND MANAGEMENT POLICIES AND INCREASED
COMMUNITY EDUCATION

Because the Gallatin is such a special place, we must take every consideration to live sustainably in this headwaters ecosystem. DEVELOP AN ADVOCACY PLATFORM TO TAKE ACTION FOR THE RIVER, CREATE AN AMBASSADOR
NETWORK TO AMPLIFY OUR CONSERVATION MESSAGE, CREATE AND DISTRIBUTE INSPIRING COMMUNICATIONS AND CONNECT PEOPLE TO THE GALLATIN THROUGH HOSTED OUTREACH ACTIVITIES.

The Task Force is committed to leading. MORE GOALS ARE DETAILED IN REPORT...

1) Watershed Monitoring: Keep up to date and collaborate on other water research/data collection that is occurring in the Upper Gallatin Watershed. Develop and disseminate an annual water report assessing water data collected over the year and comparing the data to historical data.

2) Conservation: Build diverse partnerships to develop restoration projects with common goals. Facilitate on the ground restoration projects guided by sound science. Host an annual river clean ups in the Upper Gallatin. Partner with Montanans for Healthy Rivers to promote the designation of the Upper Gallatin River, Taylor Fork, and Porcupine Creek as Wild and Scenic.

3) Community Partnerships: Build diverse partnerships with watershed stakeholders. Work with partners to develop growth strategies that protect water quality and quantity. Facilitate water management/drought resiliency planning for the Big Sky Community. Actively participate in the Big Sky Conservation Partnership and Big Sky Natural Resource Council.

4) Education and Outreach: Work with local teachers to develop and implement curriculum on watershed science. Build community participation in Task Force events (monitoring, fly fishing festival, river clean up). Host booth at the Big Sky Farmer's market. Develop and facilitate two or more educational workshops annually on watershed topics as the needs arise. Develop informational brochures on watershed-wise land management to be distributed to new homeowners and renters. Communicate the value of the Task Force works in ways that are clear, consistent, and compelling.

5) Increase Organizational Capacity and Maintain a Sustainable Organization: Maintain an active and engaged board. Develop and implement annual budgets, fundraising plans, and work plans. Plan and implement the Gallatin River Forever campaign to meet staffing and project needs as described in this strategic plan. Develop a Volunteer Leader program to expand capacity of outreach and fundraising programs. Expand volunteer base to assist with monitoring, outreach, and other tasks

1) Watershed Monitoring: A team of Task Force staff, Board members, and volunteers routinely collect samples at the 16 water quality monitoring sites along the mainstem of the Gallatin River and its tributaries.

2) Conservation: The Task Force works closely with the Custer-Gallatin National Forest, private landholders, donors, and volunteers to restore and protect the Gallatin River.

3) Community Partnerships: The Task Force has partnered with a diverse group of stakeholders, including land conservationists, federal agencies, businesses, developers, volunteers, and others to help the community accomplish the organization's mission.

4) Education and Outreach: The Task Force hosts community outreach events such as the Gallatin River Fly Fishing Festival, workshops such as Stormwater Best Management Practices and Trout Friendly Landscaping, and in-service learning programs in the local schools.

5) Increase Organizational Capacity and Maintain a Sustainable Organization:

Between 2005-2010, the primary focus of the Task Force were activities related to the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) assessments funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and administered by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. Once the TMDL assessments were completed in late 2010, the Task Force began to develop a watershed restoration plan for the Upper Gallatin to address issues identified in the TMDL assessments. A new program was developed to encompass and guide this planned restoration project work.

With the completion of the Upper Gallatin Watershed Restoration Plan in 2012, the Task Force began developing restoration projects guided by scientific data collected for the TMDL assessments and the Task Force monitoring program over the past 15 years. In the spring of 2015, the Task Force received funding for its first large-scale restoration project on the West Fork of the Gallatin River.

The Gallatin River Task Force's Strategic Plan, 2016 – 2020 built on 15 years of experience and success working to characterize, protect, and restore the waters of the Gallatin River Watershed. Now at 20 years in 2021 and with a new strategic plan through 2025, the Task Force protects this headwaters river which is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The Gallatin is internationally recognized for its Class I fisheries, exhilarating Class III and IV rapids, and breathtaking scenery, making it one of the primary filming locations for the movie A River Runs Through It.

As the Task Force moves toward its third decade as the voice of the Upper Gallatin, we are seeing a convergence of threats that put our waters at risk in ways that are unprecedented. These include a shifting climate, lingering pollution problems, and a rapidly growing community with increasing demand for water supply and wastewater disposal with ecological damage along the riverbanks and riparian areas. The Task Force is responding to these challenges with the actions outlined in this Strategic Plan that we believe will restore and protect conditions of waterways within the Upper Gallatin Watershed. We remain alert to new opportunities and threats that emerge within the basin, and will respond appropriately.

In 2019, we closed our Gallatin River Forever capital campaign and in 2020 we celebrate 20 years of our work, looking to the next 20 years.. We’ve laid the foundation for organizational growth of water monitoring, restoration and conservation and allowing us to sustain our work. Through the support of hundreds of donors, notable foundations and local support: over $900,000 will or has gone go towards river conservation and restoration projects, water-quality monitoring, and expanded educational work and water conservation for a threatened watershed. The remaining sum ensures our ability to diversify funding across the region, expand our impact and reach, and launch the full implementation of the Big Sky Sustainable Watershed Plan.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback

Financials

Gallatin River Task Force
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Gallatin River Task Force

Board of directors
as of 04/03/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Ennion Williams

Gallatin River Task Force

Term: 2023 - 2027

Heather Budd

Highline Partners

Ennion Williams

The Outlaw Partners

Rob McRae

Highline Partners

JeNelle Johnson

Ryan Kunz

Lone Mountain Ranch

Bill Collins

Yellowstone Club

Leslie Nogaret

Eric Ladd

Outlaw Partners

Rod Ray

Canyon Mountain Consulting

Todd Shaw

Ashley Wilson

Big Sky Community Organization

Rich McEldowney

Confluence Consulting Inc.

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/29/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/29/2020

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.