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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2074 | Fax: (406) 444-2684
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Transboundary Water Information


St. Mary / Milk River Basins

St. Mary - Milk Rivers Administrative Measures Task Force

The State of Montana's Comments and Recommendations on the International St. Mary - Milk Rivers Administrative Measures Task Force Report, DNRC 2008

Montana - Alberta St. Mary and Milk Rivers Water Management Initiative

 Introduction
Montana and Alberta have shared the water of the St. Mary and Milk Rivers for one hundred years, under Article VI of the Boundary Waters Treaty (1909). The Montana - Alberta St. Mary and Milk Rivers Water Management Initiative (Initiative) is an effort among water users and government officials in both jurisdictions to engage in a collaborative dialog on their mutual interest to improve access to the shared waters.
This Initiative, in part, is in response to the International Joint Commission's request to Governor Brian Schweitzer and Premier Ed Stelmach in a letter dated October 19, 2007 that Montana and Alberta seek opportunities to "explore the fundamental and interrelated issues of collaboration on the use and management of transboundary waters, cooperation on the rehabilitation of the St. Mary Canal and future arrangements for increasing the ability of each country to better access the full amount of water available to it under the current apportionment." The Initiative is defined by the watersheds of the St Mary River to its confluence with the Oldman River and the Milk River to its confluence with the Missouri River.
Under the Terms of Reference, Montana and Alberta agree that the shared water of the St. Mary and Milk Rivers is an important resource to both jurisdictions and that there are opportunities for the two jurisdictions to work together to improve access to this shared water. The Initiative will focus on the timing and access by both jurisdictions to their share of the water from the two rivers under Article VI of the Boundary Waters Treaty (1909).
The Terms of Reference establishes a twelve member Joint Initiative Team of local water users, tribal representatives (U.S.) and government officials from both sides of the border. The Team has been asked to explore and evaluate options for improving both United States and Alberta's access to the shared waters of the St. Mary and Milk Rivers and make joint recommendations on preferred options to both governments for their consideration and approval. A report containing the joint recommendations is due to both governments in April of 2010. An opportunity for public comment will be provided after submission of the Report to the Governor.
The Joint Initiative Team is co-chaired by Robert Harrison from Alberta Environment, and Anne Yates from the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Other team members include representatives from the Milk River Watershed Council Canada, Oldman Watershed Council, Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, the office of Montana's Lt. Governor, Blackfeet Tribe, Ft. Belknap Indian Community and the Milk River watershed in Montana.

International Joint Commission Letter

Commitment Letters from Governor Brian Schweitzer and Premier Ed Stelmach
Alberta Approval of Terms of Reference
Montana Approval of Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference

  Joint Status Reports
Report #1 - December 11,2008
Report #2 - January 19, 2009
Report #3 - February 25, 2009
Report #4 - April 7, 2009
Report #5 - May 11, 2009
Report #6 - June 29, 2009
Report #7 - July 23, 2009
Report #8 - September 25, 2009
Report #9 - October 29, 2009
Report #10 - December 5, 2009
Report #11 - January 25 2010
Report #12 - February 25, 2010
Report #13 - June 4, 2010
Report #14 - July 21, 2010

Montana-Alberta Base Map

Yellowstone Basin

On October 30, 1951, the Yellowstone River Compact was approved by the states of Wyoming, Montana, and North Dakota. The intent of the Compact is to establish the process for apportioning water in the four tributaries of the Yellowstone River.

Yellowstone Compact Report