THE BLACKFEET WATER RIGHTS COMPACT

The Blackfeet Water Compact is an agreement among the Blackfeet Nation, the United States and the State of Montana that confirms and establishes the Tribe’s water rights (also called Winters rights) and confirms the Tribe’s jurisdiction and authority to manage those rights. The compact required the approval of the Tribe, the State of Montana and the United States. The Montana Legislature approved the compact in 2009. Congress passed a bill that was then signed into law by President Obama on December 16, 2016, which provided federal approval of the compact as well as $422 million (in addition to the state contribution of $49 million) in funding for water-related projects on the Reservation. Then on April 20, 2017, Blackfeet tribal members voted to approve the Blackfeet Water Compact and Settlement Act.

Vote Passed! Click here to read the article

REQUEST FOR TRIBAL MEMBER REVIEW & COMMENT

Under the Compact, all existing uses of water by Tribal members are recognized and protected as part of the Tribal Water Right. The Tribe and the BIA have prepared a preliminary list of these uses and are requesting Tribal members to review the list to ensure that all uses are accurately identified. These uses include all uses of water, whether currently used or historically used any time prior to 2009, and include domestic, stock, irrigation and all other uses of water

As additional uses of Tribal water are permitted or developed in the future, the list will allow us to make sure that existing uses are fully protected.

Tribal members can review the list and reference maps and download and print the public notice and comment form and sent it back to the BIA at the address listed on the form, or it can be turned in to Jerry Lunak at the Blackfeet Water Department or to the BIA Agency Office. Members can also review the list and associated maps and obtain additional information at the Tribal Office or the BIA Agency.

DOWNLOAD THE PUBLIC NOTICE & COMMENT FORM

Please submit your comments by March 8, 2020.

BLACKFEET WATER INFORMATION PROJECT

These pages are part of an overall effort to get more information into the hands of tribal members about the water compact and settlement act. We hope you will read and share this information, ask questions, and be part of the process.

Chronology

A timeline that highlights the major events and milestones leading up to the current compact.

FAQ’S

Answers to the most common questions about the water compact and settlement act.

Map

A map of the six watersheds on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation from which the tribe draws its water rights.

Compact Resources

Additional information about the water compact, including copies of the compact, the federal bill approving the compact and other resources.

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