PABLO — Don’t be alarmed by motorized boats on Flathead Indian Irrigation Project reservoirs. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have entered into an agreement with WGM Group, Inc. for surveying and engineering services on Flathead Indian Irrigation Project.
The services include topographic and bathymetric reservoir surveys for irrigation reservoirs used by FIIP.
According to WGM Group, Inc. sub-consultant Mark Reller, the survey work will include both bathymetric — below water surface — sonar data collection; and above water surface topographic data collection using Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR).
During the surveys, WGM Group, Inc and sub-consultant Reller will access and survey reservoirs using a motorized flat-bottom boat, or WGM Group will survey by use of a small, unmanned, hydrographic drone catamaran.
The surveys will result in updated reservoir capacity tables that will assist FIIP staff in delivering water to irrigators on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Motorized watercraft access plans for FIIP reservoirs have been reviewed and approved by the CSKT Natural Resources Department.
Motorized boat access plans for the National Wildlife Refuges have been reviewed and approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The motorized boats will be on St. Mary’s, McDonald, Pablo and Ninepipes reservoirs.
All visits are being coordinated with the CSKT NRD staff.
• For more information, please contact Casey Ryan or Seth Makepeace with the CSKT Natural Resources Department at 406-675-2600.
• For more information regarding Ninepipes or Pablo National Wildlife Refuges, please contact Amy Coffman, manager of the National Bison Range Complex at 406-644-2211, ext. 204.