Meet Storm Drain Super Steward, Eric Kutch

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Eric Kutsch, a member of Bozeman Boy Scout Troop 679, approached GWC back in November 2018 with a conservation service project proposal. Eric planned to stencil storm drains in Bozeman to raise awareness about pollution of the Gallatin River that can occur through storm water run off if residents are not careful with pet wastes, oil, fertilizers, herbicides, soap, or even yard clippings.

Eric spent most of the past year planning, working with Bozeman Storm Water Coordinator Kyle Mehrens to identify target neighborhoods, getting stencil and brass marker design approvals from the City and Bozeman High School, getting materials donated and volunteers recruited. The project was recently completed when Eric and the scouts of Troop 679 stenciled 36 storm drains in neighborhoods near Mandeville Creek. They also mounted brass conservation markers on 20 sites along the Mandeville Creek Restoration Area at Bozeman High School. The scouts distributed door hangers in these neighborhoods that included information on storm drain conservation practices, educational materials from Project WET, and information about GWC and its conservation mission.

GWC was able to support Eric’s project by providing Pete McLane and Holly Hill as project advisors, and by helping Eric obtain a funding grant from the Montana Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. John Etgen of Project WET also assisted Eric as a project advisor. Eric is hopeful that the stencils will remind people that they can help protect the Gallatin River by being careful in their own front yards. Eric also hopes the brass markers will help his his fellow students at Bozeman High School be more careful about their trash when they picnic and enjoy the newly restored creek area.  Eric’s service project was one of his final requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout and the Hornaday Conservation Award.

CONGRATULATIONS Eric and THANK YOU for your service to our watershed!