Confederated Salish and
Kootenai Tribes

On January 12, 2015 the RWRCC unanimously approved the Proposed Compact, sending it to the 2015 Legislature. Legislative information will be posted on this site when it becomes available

On December 10, 2014, the negotiating parties reached agreement that respects tribal rights, while ensuring that irrigators and residents in the region continue to have access to a reliable water supply. The Compact is the result of constructive negotiations where all parties sought common ground in the best interests of the state and Tribe. The Compact, which was negotiated through the Reserved Water Rights Commission and includes recommendations from the legislature’s Water Policy Interim Committee, will make new water available for commercial and irrigation use, end the water administration void on the Flathead Reservation, allow economic development under conditions of legal certainty, and facilitate the resolution of the statewide water adjudication process. In addition, the Compact establishes a technical team with irrigator representation which will implement water compact provisions relating to diversions of water into the irrigation project so that irrigator historic use is protected and tribal in-stream flow targets are met.

Through the Compact, irrigators served by the Flathead Indian Irrigation project can have a water delivery entitlement specific to their lands as long as they are in compliance with their operation and maintenance obligations. This delivery entitlement will be transferrable to those who inherit or purchase those lands. Irrigators will receive a delivery entitlement statement as proof of the entitlement.

The Compact has been subject of more than a decade of negotiations. The 2013 legislature did not approve a previous version of the compact. Over the summer, Governor Bullock and tribal leaders agreed to open limited negotiations on language in the Compact. This revised Compact will be presented to the 2015 legislature for approval. The legislature has approved water compacts for every other tribal reservation in Montana.

January 2015 Revised Compact

Proposed Compact – January 12, 2015
Public Review Draft Compact – January 7, 2015
Compact Summary

The January 12 proposed compact approved by the Commission contains minor changes from the January 7 public review draft. These changes were made in response to public comment at the January 9 and 10 public meetings and to additional staff review. The status of appendices is indicated below. For those appendices marked “to be updated”, no substantive changes will be made to quantification of water rights, rather the updating is to reflect changes in Compact language and changed cross-references.

2015 Appendices

Color Key: Updated
Appendices That
Will Not Change
To Be Updated
  •  Appendix 1 (Hydrologic Basin Maps)
  •  Appendix 2 (FIIP Influence Area Map)
  •  Appendix 3.1 (MEFs, TIFs, Minimum Reservoir Pool Elevations)
  •  Appendix 3.2 (River Diversion Allowances)
  •  Appendix 3.3 (Historic Farm Deliveries)
  •  Appendix 3.4 (Implementation Schedule)
  •  Appendix 3.5 (Adaptive Management and CITT)
  •  Appendix 3.6 (Rehabilitation and Betterment)
  •  Appendix 3.7 (Determination of Wet, Normal and Dry Years)
  •  Appendix 4 (Proposed Law of Administration/Ordinance)
  •  Appendix 5
under development
(FIIP Abstracts in 76L and 76LJ and Maps)
check back for update
  •  Appendix 6 (Map of Non-FIIP Historic Irrigated Acres Lands Eligible for Registration)
  •  Appendix 7 (Bureau of Reclamation Modeling Report
  •  Appendix 8 (State Biological Constraints Evaluation)
  •  Appendix 9 (Flathead System Compact Water Abstract and Map)
  •  Appendix 10 (Natural Node Instream Flow Abstracts and Maps)
  •  Appendix 11 (FIIP Instream Flow Nodes Abstracts and Maps)
  •  Appendix 12 (Other Instream Flow Abstracts and Maps)
  •  Appendix 13 (Interim Instream Flows and Interim Reservoir Pool Elevations
  •  Appendix 14 (Interim Instream Flow Protocols)
   Appendix 15 (FIIP Reservoir Minimum Pool Abstracts and Maps)
  •  Appendix 16 (Wetlands Abstracts and Maps)
  •  Appendix 17 (High Mountain Lakes Abstracts and Maps)
  •  Appendix 18 (Flathead Lake Abstract and Map)
  •  Appendix 19 (Boulder Creek Hydroelectric Project Abstract and Map)
  •  Appendix 20 (Hellroaring Hydroelectric Project Abstract and Map)
  •  Appendix 21 (MTFWP Wetlands Abstracts and Maps)
  •  Appendix 22 (MTFWP Claim Number 76L 153988-00 to be Co-Owned by Tribes)
  •  Appendix 23 (USFWS Wetland Abstracts and Maps)
  •  Appendix 24 (USFWS Claims to be Co-Owned by Tribes)
  •  Appendix 25 (Kootenai Mainstem Instream Flow Right Abstract)
  •  Appendix 26 (Swan Mainstem Instream Flow Right Abstract)
  •  Appendix 27 (Lower Clark Fork Mainstem Instream Flow Right Abstract)
  •  Appendix 28 (MTFWP Claims to be Decreed as Part of the Compact)
  •  Appendix 29 (MTFWP Claims Not to be Decreed as Part of the Compact)
  •  Appendix 30 (Former Milltown Dam Instream Flow Abstracts)
  •  Appendix 31 (Former Milltown Dam Instream Flow Enforceable Level Technical Document)
  •  Appendix 32 (2004 DNRC-MTFWP Painted Rocks Contract)
  •  Appendix 33 (1958 Painted Rocks Contract Including Amendment)
  •  Appendix 34 (1992 MTFWP-BOR Lake Como Contract)
  •  Appendix 35 (Placid Creek Instream Flow Right Abstract and Map)
  •  Appendix 36 (Kootenai River Tributary Instream Flow Abstracts)
  •  Appendix 37 (Flathead Reservation Unitary Water Management Board Forms)
  •  Appendix 38 (Flathead Proposed Preliminary Decree)

2013 Document Drafts

2008-2012 Negotiation Documents

Hungry Horse Reservoir

Below are links to a cover letter and a report detailing the State's response to the Tribes' proposal for access to up to 90KAF of releases from Hungry Horse Reservoir as a component of a comprehensive water rights settlement. Below is also a link to the Bureau of Reclamation's report modeling the possible effects of the Tribes' proposal.


Dept. of Natural Resources & Conservation
1625 Eleventh Ave.
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2074
Fax: (406) 444-2684