A new water sampling project has ranked Flathead Lake swim areas clean and safe for recreaton for the second year in a row. Mark Johnston, (pictured above), founder of the Flathead Lake Open Water (FLOW) Swimmers and an organizer of the Swim Guide Citizen Science Project said in a news release, "The recreational water quality of Flathead Lake remains exceptional." The Swim Guide project was developed by the Flathead Lake Biological Station, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and the FLOW United States Masters Swimming Club in Polson. The reports are available online and on cell phones. A beach is marked red (unsafe for swimming) if there's an average of two consecutive single sample results with over 100 colony-forming units (CFU) of bacteria such as E.Coli per 100 mililiters of water or a single sample of 320 CFUs of bacteria. The highest average levels this season were 75 cfu for a two-day sample and 150 cfu for one sample, well below the unsafe level. Citizens now monitor six locations around the popular Montana lake.

Samples are tested at the University of Montana Biological Station in their Freshwater Research Laboratory. The results are then posted on the Swim Guide app - https://www.theswimguide.org/. Local business have helped offset the costs of the program. They are: Alpine Design, UBS, Riverside Recreation, Flathead Lake RV, Glacier Perks, Rocky Mountain Outfitter and Sail Inn Marina, along with Flathead Lakers and Greater Polson Community Foundation. More information on how you can be involved is available on the FLOW website.