Information & Education

Living By Water Workshop

We work to inform the public and decision makers about good stewardship practices and policies through outreach and education and by developing and sharing information. Outreach and education activities and materials include:

River to Lake Newsletter

The R2L News provides updates about River to Lake Initiative projects. Go to R2L News to view the current issue of the newsletter.

Critical Water Resources Maps

The Flathead Lakers and the Flathead Basin Commission contracted with the University of Montana Flathead Lake Biological Station to create individual maps showing:

  • wetlands and riparian forests
  • perennial, intermittent, and ephemeral streams and rivers
  • shallow groundwater areas 8 feet or less from the surface
  • slopes 30 percent or greater near rivers, streams and lakes (within 300 feet)
  • floodplains

Together, the maps show areas that are critical for maintaining excellent water quality in Flathead County. The maps were provided to Flathead County for use in land use planning.

The maps were reviewed and refined by a group of scientists and GIS experts including representatives from the Flathead Lake Biological Station, the Montana Natural Heritage Program, the Flathead Basin Commission, and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

Critical Water Resources Maps pdf. To view individual layers, click on the lower left icon and select the layer you wish to view. The Critical Water Resources Report by the Flathead Lake Biological Station describes the development of the maps.

Shallow Groundwater Map

The shallow aquifer known as the Evergreen aquifer is located between the Flathead River to the east and Whitefish River to the west, and between Badrock Canyon to the north and the confluence of the Flathead and Whitefish rivers to the south. The depth to groundwater in this area is generally less than 50 feet and for much of the area less than 5 feet.

You can view the shallow groundwater map in combination with the Critical Water Resources Maps (see above link – this map shows where the aquifer is 8 feet or less from the surface year round as well as during high peak flows) or by itself. The stand-alone Shallow Groundwater Map shows changes in water depth every 5 feet below the surface.

Flathead River Map

Enjoying and protecting our special resource

The Flathead Lakers and the Flathead Basin Commission produced this map covering the area between Columbia Falls and Flathead Lake. The map includes information about recreation, riparian forests, wetlands, and shallow groundwater areas. It also includes public access sites on the river and suggestions for float trips. It contains suggestions for ways landowners and recreators can help protect streams, rivers and lakes. The map can be obtained from the Flathead Lakers Store online, by contacting us, or it can be purchased in several sporting goods stores around the watershed.

Critical Lands Status Reports

The North Flathead Valley and the Flathead River Corridor

The 2002 Critical Lands Status Report identifies and describes critical areas in the Flathead Valley for maintaining and improving water quality. The report compiled data from scientific studies and assessments by land and water resource professionals, and was developed with input from more than 13 public and private agencies and organizations that have specialized, local knowledge about these resources.

The 2004 Critical Lands Status Report Update provides an update about critical lands in the Flathead Valley, summarizes project accomplishments to protect or restore critical lands, including conservation, restoration, education and outreach, and land use planning efforts. The report also describes new studies and programs that help identify or protect critical areas throughout the Flathead Watershed, and new threats, challenges and opportunities for protecting and restoring critical lands.

Living by Water Brochure

A guide to protecting and enhancing riparian areas

Riparian areas are places where land meets water. They are nearly as vital to the health and beauty of a waterway as water itself. This brochure describes why riparian areas are important to clean water and provides tips for preventing water pollution.

Living by Water Workshops & Tours

Do you live near a river, stream or lake? Are you planning to build a home near the water? Are your river banks eroding or in need of restoration? Then join us for this free workshop and tour of a restoration project.

The Flathead Lakers and the Flathead Conservation District provide workshops and tours for landowners and real estate agents to help them become better clean water stewards and to encourage protection and restoration of riparian buffers.

Contact us if you wish to find out when and where the next workshop will be held or to receive information about native plant nurseries, restoration consultants, or technical and financial conservation programs.

Land Use Planning Education

The Flathead Lakers provide recommendations on land use planning strategies and policies that help protect water quality. Flathead Lakers’ recommendations have been included in the Kalispell, Flathead County and Lake County growth policies. To read more about land use planning go to Planning for Clean Water.