Bitterroot College UM to Hold 2017 Water Symposium

April 14, 2017

MISSOULA – The public is invited to join the conversation about clean water during the second annual Bitterroot Water Symposium on Friday, April 28, at Bitterroot College of the University of Montana.

The event runs from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Room 105 of the Bitterroot College UM building, located at 103 S. Ninth St. in Hamilton.

The symposium will feature 18 guest speakers, beginning with a keynote address by Larry Swanson of UM's O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West and ending with a panel discussion open to questions. Hot lunch will be served to all who register by 5 p.m. Thursday, April 20. Event registration costs $10.

Continuing themes include groundwater, soils and Bitterroot River characteristics, as well as water quality and growth in the Bitterroot Valley. Speakers and panelists will feature scientists; farmers; state, county and city government officials; water advocates; and others.

A schedule follows:

8:45-9 a.m.

Opening Remarks

Victoria Clark, director, Bitterroot College UM; Nan Christianson, symposium moderator, longtime Bitterroot community activist for environmental, social and economic opportunities 

9-9:45 a.m.

Keynote: “Future Growth Scenarios for the Bitterroot Valley-2017”

Larry Swanson, director, UM O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West

 9:45-10 a.m.  


10-11:20 a.m.

“Hamilton-Corvallis-Stevensville Aquifer Properties and Flow Scenarios, Aquifer Recharge and Storage”

Ginette Abdo, senior research hydrogeologist and program manager; Kirk Waren, senior research hydrogeologist; Todd Myse, research hydrogeologist; Dean Snyder, research hydrogeologist; Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology – Groundwater Investigation Program

11:20-12 p.m.  

“Best Practices for Protection of Soil and Groundwater”

Jay Skovlin, Major Land Resource Area Soil survey leader, Natural Resource Conservation Service; Rod Daniel, registered sanitarian, Ravalli County Environmental Health

12-1 p.m.  

Hot lunch, Salisbury steak, (vegetarian option), scalloped potatoes, dessert, choice of beverage. Served by Trapper Creek Job Corps. Watershed Education Network and the Environmental Science class will provide an interactive groundwater demonstration model to all interested parties.

1-2 p.m.

“Characteristics of Bitterroot River and its Ecology”

Marisa Sowles, geologist, water resource specialist, Geum Environmental Consulting; Larry Schock, civil engineering specialist, Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation; Heather Barber, executive director, Bitterroot Water Forum

2-2:40 p.m.

“Traditional and Specialty Agriculture: Best Practices for Water Conservation” 

Dan Huls, Huls Dairy, Ravalli County Committee Right to Farm and Ranch; Brian McGuire, commercial vineyard owner/operator

2:40-2:55 p.m.


2:55-4 p.m.

Panel discussion: “Water-wise Community” 

Jeff Burrows, Ravalli County commissioner, Gene MimMack, former mayor of Stevensville; Karen Mahar, city attorney for Hamilton; Julie Foster, executive director, Ravalli County Economic Development Authority; Ran Pigman, principal, designer, project coordinator, Pigman Builders, Inc., Hamilton; Larry Schock, civil engineering specialist, Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation

4 p.m.

Closing Remarks

Nan Christianson, symposium moderator 

For more information or to sign up, visit or call 406-363-0100.


Contact: George Furniss, geosciences adjunct instructor, Bitterroot College, 406-241-1951,