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About Us

The Blue Water Task Force is a locally led non-profit 501 (c)(3) watershed group headquartered along the famous Gallatin River in Big Sky, Montana. The BWTF is governed by a board of community members representing a wide variety of stakeholders including: homeowners, recreation business owners, teachers, and local water resource managers.

Board & Staff

  Ron Bowlin, Chair
Ron has been visiting the area since 1997, became a part-time resident in 2010, and settled here permanently in 2012. He retired from a 29 year Navy career in 1998, earned his MBA at National University San Diego in 2000, and spent 11 years with Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and Hewlett-Packard (HP).  He retired again in 2012 as the Director of Information Technology Engineering Services for Navy, Marine Corps, and other Department of Defense accounts at HP Enterprise Services.  Additionally, Ron served on the Board of Directors at North Island Credit Union in San Diego from 1991-2011. His other volunteer and community service experiences include the San Diego USO, Armed Services YMCA, Special Olympics, and Partnerships in Education.  Ron and his wife Sheryl enjoy the local skiing, fishing, and hunting with their only child, a German Wirehaired Pointer named Dirk.

Eric Becker, Board Member
A fifteen-year resident of Big Sky, Eric is owner and operator of Geyser Whitewater Expeditions and is one of two river recreation representatives on the board. Eric attended Ft. Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, another recreational mecca. Eric has also served Big Sky on the advisory committee for the Chamber of Commerce and as a Search & Rescue volunteer and a volunteer fire fighter. Eric enjoys outdoor activities with his wife and young daughter, especially Nordic skiing, kayaking and biking. Below is an article written by Eric about his interest in the Gallatin River:
One Rafter's Perspective on Water

Ron Edwards, Board Member
Ron has been the General Manager of the Big Sky County Water & Sewer District 363 for the past 10 years. Prior to this position he served as the Manager for the Green Lake Sanitary District, a summer lake resort community located in Green Lake, Wisconsin from 1988 to 1995. He has a Masters degree in Water Resources Management from the University of Wisconsin- Madison, and a Bachelors degree in Geology from the University of Montana. Prior to 1988 he worked as a petroleum geologist in the Williston Basin. Ron and his family have lived in the Four Corners area since 1997. He and his wife Karla have 3 children; a daughter 24, and 2 sons 22 and 18. Ron enjoys golf and hunting and serves as the President of the Bozeman American Legion baseball program. Below is an article written by Ron about his interest in the Gallatin River
Zero Goal: BWTF, Yellowstone Club Explore Innovative Use of Wastewater: to make artificial snow

Nancy Sheil, Board Member
Nancy teaches high school math and environmental science at Lone Peak High School in Big Sky. Drawn by Big Sky's scenic beauty and year-round outdoor recreation opportunities, Nancy moved to Big Sky in 2000. She worked as a professional ski patroller at Big Sky Resort for eight years while she attended Montana State University to complete her B.S. in Land Resources and Environmental Science. In 2012, Nancy completed her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from MSU. Nancy lives in Big Sky with her husband and two young children. Nancy loves to play outside and share her love of the outdoors with her family, especially if it involves skiing, biking, rafting, or camping.

Jack Crowther, Vice Chair
Jack, who began visiting Big Sky as a part-time resident in 1974, has resided in the community with his wife Debbie since 1997. Jack is a retired insurance executive from the Minneapolis-St. Paul and a graduate from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. Since moving to Big Sky, Jack served on several B.S.O.A committees and was served on the Big Sky Water and Sewer board from 1998 through 2001. He was a key negotiator of the agreement with the Yellowstone Club which assured treated wastewater would not be released in to the Gallatin. Jack is an avid fly fisherman and bird hunter. He also enjoys golf, skiing and fishing. Below is an article written by Jack about his interest in the Gallatin River:
Mutual Benefit: Yellowstone Club Water Project a Win-Win Situation

Mike Richter

Mike caught a ride to Big Sky in 1991 and has been snowboarding in the area ever since.  He has a bachelors degree in Environmental Geology from Ohio University and began working for the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology in 1995.  Mike collects ground water data from participating landowners across Montana for the GWIC database.  He lives with his wife Jodi at Karst in the Gallatin canyon and enjoys long pow runs, safe skin tracks, catching fish until his arm hurts, and friendly Big Sky, Montana. Below is an article written by Mike about his interest in the Gallatin River:

State Agency Monitoring Big Sky Water

San Schwalbe, Treasurer/Secretary
San has been a full-time resident in Big Sky since 1979. She opened Wildwood Landscaping in 1981, which is now known as Wildwood Nursery, Inc. San is a Landscape Design Consultant and Nursery Professional. She has been a member of the Montana Landscape and Nursery Association since 1995. She has two grown children attending Montana State University. Loving the outdoors, San enjoys hiking, downhill and cross-country skiing here in Big Sky and enjoys snorkeling and scuba diving. Below is an article written by San about her interest in the Gallatin River:
Clean Water, a Community Responsibility

   Tom Spruance



Kristin Gardner, PhD Executive Director
Kristin has a PhD in Environmental Science and Ecology from MSU with a focus on streamwater quality. Kristin has worked in the Big Sky community for many years, conducting her PhD research in the West Fork watershed and serving as a Big Sky Institute fellow at Ophir School. Along with a passion for the area and a love of the outdoors, she brings a background in Water Resource Engineering and Environmental Policy (M.A from Tufts University) and experience working for nonprofit organizations. For her Master's research she worked closely with the Nantucket Land Council, a non-profit land trust in Nantucket, Massachusetts, and the Nantucket community on groundwater quality issues. Kristin has published her work in several scientific journals, including Water Resources Research and Ground Water. In her free time, Kristin enjoys playing outdoors, listening to live music and traveling with her husband Jeremy, son Elijah, and dog Thailer.
Andrea Saari, Development Coordinator

Andrea joined the Blue Water Task Force team in 2013.  After completing her undergraduate degree in Ecology & Evolution at Montana State University in Bozeman, she pursued work as a bird field biologist in the summers and the ski-bum lifestyle in the winters.  She has been in Big Sky since 2003, working as a ski and snowboard instructor, as well as a naturalist guide in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.  Eventually, all of her experiences fused together and now she can be found on the trails of Lone Mountain Ranch, the Gallatin Canyon, and Yellowstone National Park, interpreting how everything in the ecosystem works together, and the important role humans play as stewards.  She is also currently working towards her Master’s in Math & Statistics at MSU-Bozeman.

Brandin Krempasky, Big Sky Watershed Corps Member
Brandin is a newcomer to Big Sky and has recently taken an AmeriCorps position with the Big Sky Watershed Corps serving with the BWTF. Although her hometown is in Virginia, her love for the west sprouted after taking a road trip with her family in early 2003 to the Rocky Mountains. She moved to Colorado and graduated with a B.S. in Environmental Geology along with a minor in Watershed Science from Colorado State University in 2010. After graduating, she worked with the Hydrologist at the Death Valley Park Service for over three smoldering summers as a GeoCorps member and as a hydrologic technician with the Bureau of Land Managment located in Meeker, Colorado. Her last job was in Las Vegas, Nevada with the College of Southern Nevada as an Adjunct Professor for Geology and Geograpy Labs. Her love for the outdoors and much cooler temperatures pulled her and her dog Yogi, north to the wonderful Big Sky state. In her spare time, Brandin enjoys visiting public lands, backpacking and downhill skiing. She is also very excited to get her feet wet and experience the fly-fishing culture on the Gallatin River.
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