Monday, November 6, 2017

Water Protection Efforts on the Flathead Indian Reservation

Mike Stermitz’s career as an environmental inspector has seen him carry out projects in more than 10 states on behalf of private- and public-sector organizations. Mike Stermitz also has spent time working to protect the water of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), an Indian nation whose members live on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana. 

The CSKT have engaged in efforts to protect the quality of the water in the Flathead Indian Reservation (FIR) since receiving approval for “treatment as a state” under the Clean Water Act in 1989. Today, CSKT maintains both Water Pollution Control and Water Quality Standards programs.

These programs strive to protect the three river drainages that flow entirely or in part through FIR. Together, the drainages account for numerous groundwater aquifers, wetlands, streams, and lakes, including Flathead Lake, a significant portion of which sits within the reservation’s borders. In focusing on maintaining the integrity of the drainages, CSKT aims to ensure access to clean water for members of the Indian nation and for the myriad wildlife that call FIR home.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Five Tips to Prevent Stormwater Pollution

A construction manager for various Arcadis’ projects across four states, Mike Stermitz possesses more than 10 years of experience in scientific study, research, and sampling for the purposes of environmental protection. Mike Stermitz also formerly conducted Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) inspections for oil and gas companies in western North Dakota. Members of the public can join in stormwater pollution prevention efforts by considering the following tips:

1. Use pesticide and fertilizer alternatives. There are a number of alternatives to chemical pesticides and fertilizers, such as composting and implementing Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices. Some garden stores also sell ladybugs that eat garden pests like aphids. If you do purchase a chemical-based product, choose brands designated as “least toxic” to the environment. 

2. Properly dispose of green waste. Clear away green waste from your yard using dry methods, and avoid washing it down the gutter or storm drains. Use green waste bins and leave green waste at least two feet away from gutters if you live in an area that offers green waste pick-up services. You can also transform green waste into compost for gardening. 

3. Use commercial car washes. Using commercial car washes prevents oil, grease, soap, and other waste materials from washing down storm drains and gutters. If you do wash your car in the driveway, sweep up debris from sidewalks and soak up excess liquid using paper towels or cloths. You can also use kitty litter to absorb remaining water and oil. 

4. Pick up animal waste. Pet waste can contain harmful bacteria, so remember to always clean up after pets and bring waste bags when you take dogs on walks. You can also flush accidents at home down the toilet or bury small amounts of waste in the backyard for natural decomposition. Just remember to bury it away from vegetable gardens. 

5. Utilize waste drop-offs. Some cities offer programs or operate facilities for the drop-off and disposal of chemical and oil-based products. Check for these programs in your area and utilize them for the disposal of products such as oil-based paints, thinners, and household chemicals.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Montana Law Enforcement Academy - Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course

Before working as a construction manager for Arcadis, Mike Stermitz attended the University of Montana, where he earned a bachelor of science in wildlife biology. Mike Stermitz also attended the Montana Law Enforcement Academy (MLEA) in Bozeman, Montana. 

MLEA offers a wide range of programs for those looking to start a career in law enforcement. The academy features a Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course that covers a variety of subject areas such as human behavior, patrol operations, investigation, and the law, to name a few. The Law Enforcement Officer Basic Course runs for 12 weeks and is offered three times each year. 

Another MLEA course is the Correction/Detention Officer Basic Course, which presents subjects such as human behavior and corrections/detention proficiencies. MLEA also offers the Public Safety Communicator Basic Course, providing candidates with a two-week course in effective communications along with incident documentation and radio and telephone procedures. For more information, visit