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2024 Montana Primary elections

Blackfeet Nation begins work on water infrastructure improvements

The Blackfeet Nation is beginning to build infrastructure to improve access to clean water.

The Blackfeet Nation and federal Bureau of Reclamation signed a $2 million contract to develop a plan for water diversion and delivery infrastructure across the reservation.

The work is tied into the 2016 Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement which established tribal water rights to over 750,000 acre-feet of surface water. The first step in the process was building a water tank at Heart Butte.

Shane Schiek is an implementation manager for Indian Water Rights Settlements with the Bureau.

“This is really the foundation piece so that the Blackfeet tribe can move forward and address all their water infrastructure needs,” Schiek said.

The plan will guide a multiyear effort to develop city, rural and industrial water systems across the reservation.

Ellis Juhlin is MTPR's Rocky Mountain Front reporter. Ellis previously worked as a science reporter at Utah Public Radio and a reporter at Yellowstone Public Radio. She has a Master's Degree in Ecology from Utah State University. She's an average birder and wants you to keep your cat indoors. She has two dogs, one of which is afraid of birds.
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