PABLO – In response to the House tonight considering the Montana Water Rights Protection Act, our Chairwoman Shelly R. Fyant has issued this statement.
“This is one of the most significant days in the history of our people and one that will have a profound and positive impact on the future of the Flathead Reservation for the next century,” said CSKT Chairwoman Shelly R. Fyant. “With passage of S. 3019, we will be able to rehabilitate and modernize the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project (FIIP) and restore damages to fish and wildlife habitat caused by the project, while simultaneously protecting farmers and ranchers who depend on irrigation for their livelihoods.”
“I cannot express how much we appreciate the hard work that the Montana Congressional Delegation put into this bill and now having it signed into law. From Senator Tester’s initial introduction of the bill four years ago, to Senator Daines’ introduction, amendments and work with the Trump Administration this year and to both of our Senators urging their respective leaders to include the bill in the omnibus appropriations bill, and to Congressman Gianforte’s work with the Minority Leader in the House, all played pivotal roles and the residents of Montana should be thankful for their efforts. We certainly are grateful. We also express our appreciation to the many agriculture and conservation groups across Montana and even across the country who also helped advocate for passage of this truly historic and important bill.”
“This will conclude a very long and difficult effort to quantify the water rights of the Séliš, QÍispé, and Ksanka People. This means we can avoid decades of acrimonious litigation on streams across much of Montana and protect many streams with sufficient amounts of water to ensure fish can survive and Montana’s residents can recreate and fish as they have for generations. The bill will also restore the National Bison Range back to Tribal ownership where it will be professionally managed for bison conservation and will remain open to the public. The implementation of the settlement will create thousands of good paying jobs and help boost our regional economy. This is a once-in-a lifetime moment for CSKT.”