The Gallatin River carries the mountains to the sea. It carries our communities and our livelihoods. It carries our stories and dreams. And this river also carries something more ominous in its waters: Our garbage.
In a pilot survey of five sites along the Gallatin River, microplastic particles were found in every sample, some in startlingly high numbers. With this knowledge, we launched the Gallatin Microplastics Initiative to study the abundance and types of microplastics in the Gallatin Watershed. This is an expansion of the Worldwide Microplastics Project.
In each year of the Gallatin Microplastics Initiative, 60+ volunteers will return four times to their assigned sites on the main Gallatin and its tributaries, gathering an in-depth picture of plastic pollution from 70 sites in the watershed. This information will help us understand the extent of the problem and how to resolve it.