"Interior Secretary Signs Montana Tribes Water Rights Compact"

"HELENA, Mont. — Interior Secretary Deb Haaland signed the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes water rights compact on Friday, settling a decades-long battle over thousands of individual water rights in Montana and on the Flathead Indian Reservation. The deal also created a $1.9 billion trust to settle claims and refurbish the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project in Montana.

The tribes have claims to more than 10,000 water rights beyond their reservation land. The compact offered a deal where the tribes relinquished their claims to most of the water outside of the reservation.

In exchange, the tribes will receive 211 water rights on their reservation, 10 water rights outside of the reservation and co-ownership of 58 other water rights, along with the funding.

“Our elders continually remind us to protect our water, and this day marks the beginning of the water compact implementation that will protect the water for all generations to come,” Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Chairwoman Shelly Fyant said in a statement."

The Associated Press had the story September 17, 2021.

Source: AP, 09/21/2021