Spring Highway Cleanup – April 22, 2023


Swan Lakers is devoted to preserving and improving the water quality and natural, cultural, and historical resources of Swan Lake, Montana, including its headwaters, its drainages, and appurtenant lands.

Established as a non-profit 501(c) (3) in 2005, Swan Lakers is a group of friends and neighbors who value the unique character and quality of our community, much of which is based on the pristine nature of the Swan Basin watershed.  Our efforts to preserve and protect this valuable resource include Water Quality Studies, Aquatic Invasive Species Inspections, the Adopt-a-Highway MDOT program, and Swan River Cleanups. Our organization serves members and the greater community by providing the data, discussion and educational material necessary to make informed decisions regarding issues that affect the watershed’s present and future well-being.  Through collaborative efforts with other community organizations and government entities, we work to build a consensus that allows all those who appreciate our special home, residents and visitors alike, the opportunity to maintain the quality of life we all enjoy.  Participation from all who share the Swan Lakers vision is encouraged.  Photos for Banner by Kay Bjork

Geese over Swan

Geese fly by

Aquatic Invasive Species – (AIS) Swan Lakers carries out boat inspections with twice-weekly inspections in July and August at the USFS Boat Launch in the town of Swan Lake.  Please consider becoming a volunteer inspector in 2023.

With regard to AIS, their spread is a growing problem across the United States and Canada. AIS that threatens Montana include Quagga and Zebra mussels, Curly Leaf Pondweed and Eurasian Milfoil.  Unfortunately, Quagga and Zebra mussels have been found in Montana this past year. Their presence in our state is proof of how easily they can be moved from place to place on trailered watercraft.  The introduction of these mussels would be a catastrophe for Montana’s waterways in terms of appearance and the effect on fishing. They reproduce rapidly in the millions fouling shorelines, clinging to structures like pilings, and clogging irrigation systems. They are filter feeders that interrupt the food chain that supports our fish populations. They can literally destroy a fishery.

Swan Lakers is offering an annual scholarship in 2023 for $2,000 to a graduating senior from either Bigfork or Seeley/Swan High Schools who intends to pursue higher education. Preference is given to students intending to study the environmental sciences. However, consideration is given to any graduating senior needing financial assistance to pursue higher education. Applications are due by March 31, 2023. Click on the link HERE for the scholarship application.

Swan Lakers President, Jeff Kemp, presented a $2,000. scholarship to Bigfork High School graduate, Elliot Sanford on June 2nd, 2022.  Elliot has an outstanding history of academic achievement and community involvement.  He plans on majoring in geology/hydrology at the University of Montana.  Congratulations Elliot!


It was a lovely morning for our Fall Highway Cleanup…thank you Volunteers!  Between 16 of us we picked up 10 large bags of trash.  Keeping Ferndale Beautiful!  Please join us this Spring on April 22, 2023.

installing new box

Thank you, Chris (Volunteer of the Year) for constructing two new Trash Bag Dispensers that hold our mesh bags for the river floaters!  Besides the one that has been successfully used for several years at the Rainbow Drive River Access, we decided to place one at the South Ferndale Drive Bridge and Kearney Rapids Bridge on Swan River Road.  And thanks Jeff, for helping to dig into the rocky ground!
Septic Tank Maintenance – Make no mistake, improperly functioning septic systems are the greatest threat to water quality in Swan Lake and the Swan River Watershed.  The following link is to an article that appeared recently in the Bigfork Eagle, it speaks to the urgency of properly maintaining septic systems.


Also, Flathead and Lake County Conservation Districts offer financial assistance for having your septic system pumped and evaluated.  The following link describes the program and gives instructions on how to apply.  We strongly urge you to take advantage of this program.


 Swan Lake Map – We have for sale a map that displays Swan Lake and its surrounding mountains.  The map displays the depth contours of Swan Lake and identifies the names of various features around the lake.  It was produced by the Flathead Lake Biological Station and is similar to those also made for Flathead Lake and Whitefish Lake.  All revenue will be applied to support the Swan Lakers’ monitoring and conservation efforts.   The poster is 24″ x 18″ and the cost per poster is $10, shipping and handling included.  If you are interesed in purchasing a map, please email info@swanlakers.org


  Swan River Gauging Station Click on link below for up-to-date data.