Bitter Times in the Bitterroot

Three main problems are currently being faced in the Bitterroot Valley in Western Montana. These problems include the decreasing quality of water, fire safety, and the societal battle that occurs when it comes to fire safety. The quality of water is becoming an issue due to multiple causes. One being the constant runoff of fertilizer that is being used in the agricultural industry. This runoff seeps into the ground and whatever isn’t used up by the field eventually ends up in the rivers and streams that run throughout Montana. Another cause of the decreasing water quality is mining. Mined ores such as copper can also be washed out of mines by rainfall and deposited into water sources throughout the state. The second issue plaguing Montana is the growing concern in fire safety. This issue has two sides to it because forest fires are a large problem in Montana and the best way to prevent them is by removing trees from densely forested areas. The reason this is difficult is because the residents of Montana do not want to see their beautiful dense forests thinned out. These problems are not very historical in nature because they are all mostly related to humans. There would be no water quality issue without human agriculture, nor would there be a concern for fire safety.

I believe the Bitterroot Valley is a good starting point when it comes to understanding the world’s environmental issues. It does this well because it is a very secluded but loved area of the United States. This means that these issues are going to hit this area first due to it being so isolated and less prioritized over larger cities and more densely populated areas. However, it should only be used as a starting point due to these same reasons. Larger cities in different areas will have different problems that aren’t as obvious as the ones in Montana, but there will also be problems that are more obvious and easier to identify due to the mass population.

4 thoughts on “Bitter Times in the Bitterroot”

  1. While I see there being more than three main problems effecting the Bitterroot Valley, I like that you chose to more closely focus on the three. It is difficult to speak in depth about the many issues effecting this area, so it is important to go into depth about the ones you see as being most important. Your use of cause and effect is crucial for people to gain a better understanding of this area and what happens when these issues occur. I think your point about the Bitterroot Valley being a good example to environmental issues in other places because it is so loved is really important. There are many areas suffering even more severe consequences that are entirely overlooked because they have less significance to recreational, research based, agricultural, and aesthetic purposes. We must consider even the less “loved” areas being effected by human activity.

  2. I liked the wildfire addition to your blog. Montana and some parts of the United States have been decimated by wildfires lately and its hard to prevent these wildfires from happening and sometimes even harder to contain them. With such a high chance of wildfires happening in Montana, especially in the dryer and higher temperature months, people that live in the state of Montana are almost getting used to seeing a wildfire happen somewhere in the state almost every dry season. The main problem that I could see stemming from this is the people living in those areas becoming expectant of a wildfire every year and thus uncaring about changing their habits concerning the forests and possibly exacerbating the existing problem.

  3. I agree completely that there are three main issues that the Bitterroot Valley is currently facing today. Those being the decreasing quality of water, fire safety, and the battles that happen in society when fire safety is in play. These are definitely very valuable issues that need to be check marked for the future. The water runoff is the biggest problem in my mind and you did a great job exploiting the problems. Fire safety is the second biggest issue in my mind altogether. You are right on the point pointing out that there should be absolutely know concern for water quality issues and fire safety. People have gotten used to dealing with fire safety but we need to change that.

  4. I also agree with the issue that fire brings to the equation, growing up in Montana I am no stranger to the dangers that fire presents. I decimates thousands of acres yearly and many times is raging out of control. The other issues seem to take a back-burner to that but I agree in thinking that one of the most pressing matters is one of the ones that can effect the most people. Improper care of the forest can and likely will lead to massive fires that could cause irreversible damage. The mining issues that are brought up are important but in the short term, small steps need to be taken, and winning several small battles at a time seem to be the right way to go.

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