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Approved Compacts


Approved Compacts Map

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Blackfeet Tribe Compact 85-20-1501 MCA
The 2009 Montana Legislature passed a compact settlement between the Blackfeet Tribe, the United States and the State of Montana. The compact quantifies the reserved water right for the Blackfeet while protecting the rights of non-tribal water users locally and downstream on Birch Creek and the Milk River. The compact was first introduced in Congress in 2010 (go to The Thomas Library of Congress Web site and type bill number S.612) and signed into law by President Obama on December 16, 2016.

Compact Summary
Map

Compact Appendices

Birch Creek Agreement 2008
Birch Creek Agreement 2009 Amendment


USFWS Bowdoin National Wildlife Refuge 85-20-1301 MCA
This compact settles the reserved water rights on the refuge for uses including administrative, wildlife habitat maintenance and enhancement, and stock watering. The USFWS water rights are contingent on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that outlines provisions relating to mitigation of severe salinity problems on the refuge. The MOU was approved by all parties in April 2013. The compact was approved by the United States in March 2014 and approved by the Montana Water Court in October 2015. The Montana Water Court issued its Final Judgment in May 2016.

Compact Summary
Map
MOU

Compact Appendices


USFWS Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge 85-20-1701 MCA
This compact between the United States and the State of Montana settles the reserved rights of the United States’ for the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge (CMR). The United States has a priority date of 1965 but has subordinated itself to the effective date of the compact (5/11/2015), quantifies a federal reserved water right consisting of base flows in 69 streams draining onto the CMR refuge; and implements limitations on larger on-stream impoundments on selected streams. This final compact is the product of several years of settlement negotiations between the U.S. Department of Interior and the state of Montana. The compact was ratified by the 2013 Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Steve Bullock. The United States’ Secretary of the Interior and Department of Justice signed off on May 11, 2015. The compact awaits final approval by the Montana Water Court.

Compact Summary
Map
Compact Appendices


Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Indian Reservation Compact 85-20-1901 MCA
The CSKT-Montana compact is the result of more than a decade of negotiations to resolve the Tribes’ claims to reserved rights within the State. A previous version of the compact failed in the 2013 Montana legislature. Following a request for a limited reopening of negotiations by Governor Bullock in early 2014, the State and Tribes negotiated key provisions relating to irrigation use and instream flows on the Reservation and incorporated recommendations from the Montana Water Policy Interim Committee following two years of review. The 2015 Legislature ratified the Compact, and the parties are working on compact implementation. The Compact awaits approval by the United States Congress, the tribes, and the Montana Water Court.     

Compact Summary
Map
Compact Appendices and More


Crow Tribe Compact 85-20-901 MCA
A compact between the Crow Tribe, the United States, and the State was passed by the 1999 Montana Legislature in a special session and signed by Gov. Marc Racicot. This compact protects water rights for domestic wells and springs, livestock consumption, agriculture, instream flow, storage, emergency use and other purposes. The United States Congress ratified this compact in November 2010. The settlement package was approved by the Crow Tribe in a referendum vote in March 2011. The Montana Water Court issued a preliminary decree for this compact in January 2013 (Case No. WC-2012-06). The Montana Water Court then approved the compact in May 2015 and dismissed all objections in June 2016..

Compact Summary
Map
Compact Appendices and More


Gros Ventre and Assiniboine Tribes of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation Compact 85-20-1001 MCA
A compact between the State, the United States, and the Gros Ventre and Assiniboine tribes of the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation was ratified by the 2001 Montana State Legislature and signed by Gov. Judy Martz. This compact quantifies water rights for domestic, livestock and irrigation use, as well as emergency use for public health and safety. Negotiations continue on a federal bill which must be approved by the United States Congress. A bill was introduced to Congress in 2011, but no further action has been taken to date.

Compact Summary
Map

Compact Appendices


Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation Compact 85-20-201 MCA
A compact between the State of Montana, the United States, and the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes of the Fort Peck Indian Reservation was ratified by the 1985 Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Ted Schwinden. This compact allows the Fort Peck Indian Reservation to divert water annually from the Missouri River and its tributaries, providing water for consumptive domestic, agricultural and industrial uses. The compact was approved by appropriate federal agencies and the Montana Water Court issued a final decree for this compact in August 2001 (Case #WC-92-1).

Compact Summary
Map
Compact Appendices


USFWS National Bison Range Compact 85-20-1601 MCA
A compact between the State and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge was reached in 2009. This compact provides water for wildlife consumption and habitat as well as administrative uses, such as wildfire suppression. The compact was ratified by the 2009 Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Schweitzer. The Montana Water Court issued the Bison Range preliminary decree in September 2011 (Case # WC-2011-01) and approved the compact in July 2014.

Compact Summary
Map
Compact Appendices


National Park Service 85-20-401 MCA
In 1993, a water rights compact with the National Park Service for the Yellowstone and Glacier national parks and Big Hole National Battlefield was passed by the Montana Legislature. The 1995 Montana Legislature ratified a compact for the remaining two Park Service units, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument and Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, completing Park Service negotiations in Montana. The two compacts were consolidated by the Montana Legislature into a single compact that provides water for instream flow, groundwater use to serve park facilities and residences, irrigation use, and emergency fire suppression. The compact also provides for water rights to preserve the resources and hydrothermal features in Yellowstone National Park. The Montana Water Court issued a final decree for this compact in April 2005 (Case # WC-94-1) and issued its Certification and Final Judgment in April 2016.

Compact Summary
Maps: Glacier National Park, Big Hole Battlefield, Little Bighorn Battlefield, Bighorn Canyon, Yellowstone
Compact Appendices


Northern Cheyenne Tribe Compact 85-20-301 MCA
Negotiations between the State of Montana and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe were successfully concluded in 1991 with a compact to provide water for domestic, agricultural and economic development use on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation while protecting the rights of non-tribal water users on the Tongue River, Rosebud Creek, and tributaries. The 1991 Montana Legislature approved the compact and Gov. Stan Stephens signed it into Montana law. The Northern Cheyenne Compact was ratified by the United States Congress and signed into Federal law in September 1992. The Montana Water Court issued a final decree for this compact in September 1995 (Case # WC-93-1).

Northern Cheyenne Abstracts
Compact Summary

Map


USFWS Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) 85-20-801 MCA
A water rights compact for Red Rock Lakes NWR was ratified by the Montana Legislature and signed into Montana law by Gov. Brian Schweitzer in 1999. This compact provides water for wildlife consumption and habitat, as well as administrative uses, such as wildfire suppression. The compact was approved by Federal entities in February 2000, and the Montana Water Court issued a final decree in August 2005 (Case # WC-2000-02).

Compact Summary
Map

Compact Appendices


Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation Compact 85-20-601 MCA
A water rights compact between the State and the Chippewa Cree Tribe of Rocky Boy's Indian Reservation was reached in early 1997. This compact provides water for economic development while protecting the rights of local water users and those downstream. It also provides for instream flows and fish and wildlife enhancement purposes. The compact was ratified by the Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Marc Racicot in 1997. It  was approved by the United States Congress in 1999. The Montana Water Court issued a final decree for the compact in May 2002 (Case # WC-2000-01).

Compact Summary
Map
Compact Appendices


BLM Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument 85-20-1801 MCA
This compact between United States and the State of Montana settles for all time the United States’ federal reserved water right claims for the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument. The ratified compact subordinates the United States’ 2001 priority date to June 1, 2012; quantifies an instream flow right of 160 cfs in the Judith River and 5 cfs in Arrow Creek, respectively; institutes an on-stream impoundment limitation; and requires ramping of large new diversions. The final compact is the product of a year of settlement negotiations between the U.S. Department of Interior and the State of Montana. The negotiated compact was ratified by the 2013 Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Steve Bullock. The Department of the Interior and the Department of Justice have also approved the compact (Effective Date: June 1, 2015). The Montana Water Court issued the compact Preliminary Decree in 2015 and an “Order Approving” in April 2016.

Compact Summary
Map

Compact Appendices


BLM Bear Trap Canyon / Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River 85-20-501 MCA
A water rights compact with the BLM for both the Upper Missouri Wild and Scenic River and Bear Trap Canyon Public Recreation Site on the Madison River was ratified by the Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Marc Racicot in 1997. This compact quantifies an instream flow right on the Missouri River for a 149 mile stretch from Fort Benton to the Fred Robinson Bridge and an instream flow right on the Madison River over the Bear Trap Canyon Public Recreation Site. In May 2011, the Montana Water Court issued a final decree for the BLM-Montana Compact (Case # WC-2008-10).

Compact Summary
Map

Compact Appendices


USFWS Benton Lake and Black Coulee 85-20-701 MCA
In 1996, a water rights compact between the State and the USFWS was reached for both the Benton Lake and Black Coulee national wildlife refuges (NWR). This compact provides water for wildlife consumption and habitat, as well as administrative uses and wildlfire suppression. The compact was ratified by the 1997 Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Marc Racicot. The compact has been approved by the appropriate federal agencies. The Montana Water Court issued final decrees for the compact in October 2005 (Case # WC-2000-03 & WC-2002-04).

Compact Summary
Map
Compact Appendices


USDA Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Station 85-20-1101 MCA
A water rights compact for the Fort Keogh Research Station was approved by the Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Schweitzer in 2007. The compact settles the administrative, irrigation, stock and emergency fire suppression water rights for Fort Keogh near Miles City. It includes reserved rights to Fort Keogh's current irrigation use from the Yellowstone River and some future irrigation use, as well as a small amount of current use from a tributary of the Tongue River. The compact was approved by the appropriate federal agencies in 2013. The Montana Water Court issued its approval in June 2015 and a Final Judgment in April 2016.

Compact Summary
Map
Compact Appendices


USDA Forest Service 85-20-1401 MCA
The water compact between the State of Montana and the U.S. Forest Service took more than 25 years to negotiate. It was approved by the Montana Legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Schweitzer and the appropriate Federal agencies in April 2007. This compact recognizes reserved water rights for the U.S. Forest Service for administrative and emergency firefighting needs, and instream flows for the South Fork Flathead Wild and Scenic River. The compact uses Montana law to create state-based water rights for instream flow on the National Forest System lands. The Montana Water Court issued a final decree for this compact in October 2012 (Case # WC-2007-03).

Compact Summary
Map

Compact Appendices


USDA Sheep Experiment Station 85-20-1201 MCA
A water rights compact for USDA Sheep Experiment Station was approved by the Montana Legislature and signed Gov. Brian Schweitzer in 2007. The compact settles reserved rights for stock water, domestic, irrigation, storage, dust abatement, reclamation, research, emergency fire suppression for a small Montana portion of the Sheep Experiment Station, located in the Centennial Mountains on the southwestern edge of Montana. The compact was approved by the federal agencies in 2013. The Montana Water Court issued an Order to Approve in May 2015.

Compact Summary
Map
Compact Appendices