There's a great write up in The Tri-State Livestock News talking about the importance of the Milk River, the St. Mary canal irrigation project, and the recent failure of Drop 5. Here's the opener:

A concrete structure on the St. Mary Canal near Glacier National Park crumbled and washed downstream, shutting off flow to the Milk River and leaving the entire northern hi-line of Montana without a stable water supply, including 140,000 acres of irrigated crops on over 700 farms and affecting 18,000 people in the Milk River basin.


Check out the full story by clicking here.

We spoke with the Assistant Secretary for the Department of Interior about this very project during his recent visit to Montana.

How important is it to make these urgent repairs on the St. Mary project? That same TSLN piece above quotes former state Rep. Jeff Pattison (R-Glasgow):

“I think Wade Jones (a Glasgow irrigated farmer) said it best when he said if we lose the Milk River, you might as well just take the top half of the map of Montana and tear it off. It’s that significant.”

We do have some news on this front. On Thursday, Montana's Congressman Greg Gianforte (R-MT) that the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved his amendment to provide $25 million for repairs to Bureau of Reclamation canals, including St. Mary. Gianforte added the following statement:

The repairs of the St. Mary canal are critical for the communities and irrigators along the Hi-Line, and this funding is key to rebuilding and improving the canal. There’s more to do to address Montana’s most critical infrastructure project. I’ll continue working to get the project the support it needs and shift the cost burden off the shoulders of local water users and to the federal government.

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