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DEQ launches Smith River algae reporting app

HELENA – If you were one of the lucky people to score a permit to float the Smith River this year, the Department of Environmental Quality is asking you to collect some information on the way down.

Last week, DEA hosted an informational meeting to update the public on efforts to investigate a nuisance algae along the river that has been popping up over the last couple years. Now, DEQ in partnership with Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Environmental Protection Agency has released a smart phone app hoping to crowdsource data on the algae.

The Montana Smith River Algae App allows users to take photos while floating and answer two basic questions: “How extensive is the algae?” and “What is the condition of the algae?”

That information along with a picture, time, date and location will be sent to DEQ for analysis. DEQ hopes to find out more detailed data about where the algae is growing and where it isn’t.

DEQ Water Quality Specialist Katie Makarowski because of the limited access to the Smith, getting the public to help is important.

“We just really encourage people to participate. If you’re going to be out on the Smith River, we’d really, really appreciate you taking a few minutes of your time and getting excited about it and getting engaged,” Makarowski said.

The app is available now on both the Google Play Store and Apple App store.

For more details about the app and how to download, click here.