Look Out for Harmful Algal Blooms When Recreating This Summer

Submitted By Moira Davin, Public Relations Specialist for MT DEQ

When recreating on Montana’s waterbodies this spring, summer and fall, be on the lookout for harmful algal blooms (HABs) that can occur on Montana’s reservoirs and lakes. While not all algal blooms contain toxins, the blooms can impact human health and the health of freshwater ecosystems. Report suspected HABs at to help others be alert and prevent illness. How to identify a HAB: A coloration or scum on the surface of the water that can look like grass clippings or spilled paint. Blooms are often blue, green or gold in color. HABs can occur when there is a rapid overgrowth of blue-green algae (also called cyanobacteria).  The blue-green algae can produce toxins that can cause skin irritation, sicken humans and even kill pets and livestock if ingested. Toxins do not always occur with a HAB and water quality samples are the only way to determine if toxins are present. Blue-green algae are native to Montana and commonly occur at low, safe densities in many freshwater systems.

When in doubt, stay out. Do not drink, swallow, or swim in water that shows signs of a HAB and keep kids, pets and livestock out. Direct contact, ingestion, or inhalation of the toxins may irritate the skin, eyes, nose, throat and respiratory system, or cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, dizziness, muscle weakness or liver and kidney damage. If you suspect a HAB-related illness in a person or animal, including livestock, call your health care provider or veterinarian immediately. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) maintain a website where people can submit reports of suspected HABs at: Before recreating in a waterbody, Montanans and visitors can check the website and view a map of reported blooms, any associated health advisories and monitoring data associated with reports. The site also has photos and information to educate yourself on how to identify a HAB. If you suspect a HAB, submit a report to and state agencies will work with the local jurisdiction to sample for the presence of toxins and monitor the incident. These reports are important for the health and safety of recreators and water users in the state, and they also help state agencies track where nutrient pollution may be an issue.

Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus fuel algae growth and potential HABs. Below are actions you can take to reduce nutrient pollution in Montana’s waters:

Reduce your use of lawn or crop fertilizers. Avoid trampling streamside vegetation when you’re recreating. If you live alongside a stream or lake—restore and protect native woody plants, flowers and grasses because they help filter pollution and stabilize land. If your home relies on a septic system, have it regularly serviced and consider upgrading it to a higher-level treatment system. Throughout the summer, DEQ will post confirmed HABs on Facebook. Follow @MTDEQ for updates.

FWP Accepting Applications For Ice Fishing Contests 2024 

Submitted By Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is accepting ice fishing contests applications for the 2023-2024 season. Participants must comply with state fishing regulations, including daily and possession limits. Applications for fishing contests may be approved, approved with conditions, or denied by the FWP Fisheries Division in Helena. Conditions placed on contests may help to minimize fish mortality, regulate harvest, reduce user conflicts and/or require additional access site maintenance when needed.

Information on the proposed fishing contests can be found on the FWP Fishing Contest webpage,, or by calling 406-444-2449. Applications may be mailed to FWP Fisheries Division, Attn: Fishing Contests, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620-0701, or emailed to All applications must be received on or before July 15.

Montana Unemployment Remains at All-Time Low Lincoln Listed 55th

Submitted By Jessica Nelson, Department of Labor & Industry

Governor Greg Gianforte today announced Montana’s unemployment rate remained at an all-time low of 2.3% in May, bucking national trends as the country’s unemployment rate rose from 3.4 to 3.7%. In 2022, average annual wages in Montana grew at the fifth fastest rate in the nation, according to recently released data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. “With our pro-jobs policies and the unparalleled work ethic of Montanans, we continue to outperform states in job creation, wage growth, and low unemployment,” Gov. Gianforte said. “While the Biden administration picks winners and losers in our economy and advances activist, woke policies, we’re making Montana the best state in the country to live, work, start a business, and raise a family.”

According to data compiled by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Montana Department of Labor & Industry, total employment in Montana, which includes payroll, agricultural, and self-employed workers, added 1,478 jobs in May. Montana’s labor force added 1,882 workers, topping 575,000 workers in the labor force for the first time in state history. May marks the twentieth consecutive month of unemployment below 3.0% in Montana. Since Gov. Gianforte was elected, more than 40,000 new jobs have been created in Montana. In May, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U), which measures inflation, rose 0.1% over-the-month. Shelter was the largest contributor to the increase, followed by used cars and trucks. The index for all items minus food and energy, also called core inflation, increased by 0.4% for the month, with a 5.3% increase for the year ending in May. Visit for additional information and analysis, including industry employment levels, background on the unemployment rate, and wage rates by occupation. Visit for Montana unemployment claims and current economic data.