Lake Monitoring

Flathead Lake Monitoring

Flathead Lake is one of the cleanest large lakes in the world - a rare and priceless public resource. Flathead Lake is a place where we create family memories and friendships. We enjoy swimming, boating, and fishing in its amazingly transparent waters. It is the crown jewel of the Crown of the Continent, a vital part of this healthy ecosystem, and worthy of our efforts to understand and protect it.

Flathead Lake water quality is, however, at risk.
Flathead Lake is listed as ‘impaired’ by Federal and State management agencies due to human-caused increases in nutrients and sediments. Additionally, introduced species have dramatically changed the community found in the lake. The FLBS Monitoring Program has documented all of these changes, and the Bio Station serves as a first line of defense against future degradation as these threats persist.

Since 1899, the Flathead Lake Biological Station (FLBS) has been serving as “Sentinel of the Lake”, and FLBS researchers have been learning from Flathead Lake and its watershed. This long history of research and monitoring has resulted in much scientific discovery and insight, as well as one of the best long-term ecological and water quality records in the world.

It is essential to regularly monitor water quality and ecological conditions in the lake, because if we do not monitor them, changes will not be noticed early. FLBS has been monitoring Flathead Lake for over 100 years, instituted a scientifically rigorous monitoring program in 1977. FLBS provides this information to citizens, state and federal resource managers and politicians so they can make science-based decisions that protect the Flathead Lake-River system. Over the years this has resulted in significant water quality conservation successes such as the ban of Phosphorus detergents, the upgrade of local sewage treatment systems, and prevention of mining in the upper North Fork Flathead River. At FLBS we will continue to work to understand and protect Flathead Lake and its watershed, to ensure that you and your family can continue to enjoy the Flathead Lake that you have grown to love.

"Most of us fail to appreciate that Flathead Lake is not going to stay clean and clear unless great efforts are made."
- Dr. Jessie Bierman, FLBS alumna and patron and infant/mother health care pioneer
We at FLBS do everything we can to gather and disseminate the information needed to protect and conserve our great lake. Many others have joined us in our efforts over the years. We would appreciate your support as well.