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Milk River Watershed Alliance

Milk River Watershed Alliance

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Milk River Watershed Alliance

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  1. Milk River Watershed Alliance Life Line of the Hi-Line Julianne Snedigar MRWA Coordinator Malta, Montana

  2. The Milk River Watershed…What is it? • Area of the Milk River Watershed • 23,800 square miles • 15,521 square miles in Montana • Over 700 miles of river • 8,154 irrigated acres

  3. The Milk River Watershed…What is it? • Projects of the MRWA • State of the Watershed Report • Cooperative Weed Management Area Project • Conservation Tours • Water Monitoring

  4. What is the Milk River Watershed Alliance? • The Milk River Watershed Alliance is a locally led organization working together to preserve, protect, and enhance natural resources within the Milk River Watershed while maintaining the quality of life. • Milk River Watershed Alliance (MRWA) activities are delimited to the geographical extent of the Milk River Basin within the counties of Hill, Blaine, Phillips, and Valley, Montana.

  5. Who is the Milk River Watershed Alliance? • The MRWA participants fall into one of four basic categories: • Executive Board • Public-At-Large • Technical Advisory Group (TAG) • Coordinator

  6. What does the Milk River Watershed Alliance do? • The MRWA has four committees that work on various projects. • Economic Development • Irrigation • Noxious Weeds • Riparian

  7. What does the Milk River Watershed Alliance do? • Projects of the MRWA • State of the Watershed Report • Cooperative Weed Management Area Project • Water Monitoring

  8. State of the Watershed Report

  9. State of the Watershed Report • The Milk River Watershed Alliance is anxiously waiting for the unveiling of the 2013 State of the Watershed Report. • The Milk River Watershed Report is a snapshot of the state of the Milk River. • Every five years, the Milk River Council in Alberta, Canada is tasked by their government to publish a document stating the conditions on the Milk River. • For the past year, representatives from many agencies throughout Montana have been working with their counterparts in Alberta and Saskatchewan to publish the new report.

  10. State of the Watershed Report • The 2013 edition is the first of its kind. The report includes information from all reaches of the Milk River whereas only Alberta has been reported on in the past. • The 2013 State of the Watershed Report is currently being printed and will be available from the Milk River Watershed Alliance or the Phillips, Valley, Blaine and Hill Conservation District by early fall 2013. • The Conservation Districts have graciously donated over $3000 to purchase copies for distribution!!

  11. Cooperative Weed Management Area Project Leafy Spurge infestation in eastern Phillips County

  12. CWMA Project • Priority 2B • These weeds are abundant in Montana and widespread in many counties. • Management criteria will require eradication or containment where less abundant. Management is prioritized by local weed districts. • - Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense) • - Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis) • - Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula) • - Whitetop (Cardaria draba) • - Russian knapweed (Centaurea repens) • - Spotted knapweed (Centaurea stoebe or maculosa) • - Diffuse knapweed (Centaurea diffusa) • - Dalmatian toadflax (Linaria dalmatica) • - St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum) • - Sulfur cinquefoil (Potentilla recta) • - Common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) • - Oxeye daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum or Leucanthemum vulgare) • - Houndstongue (Cynoglossum officinale) • - Yellow toadflax (Linaria vulgaris) • - Saltcedar (Tamarix spp.)

  13. CWMA Project • The Milk River Watershed Alliance (MRWA) has teamed up with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Weed Districts of Hill, Blaine, Phillips and Valley Counties to embark on a 10 year BLM funded Cooperative Weed Management Area Grant. • The purpose of this grant is to inventory and control Montana listed noxious weeds on either side of the Milk River for a width of 200 feet.

  14. CWMA Project • Work began the summer of 2009 at Fresno Reservoir in Hill County and continue downstream to the confluence of the Missouri River in Valley County. • Weeds will be controlled on both private and publicly owned lands. Participation among land owners in the four counties is voluntary. Each landowner will be contacted before inventory and treatment occurs.

  15. CWMA Project • Weed Zappers, Inc. worked on the CWMA project in eastern and central Phillips County in 2013. • Scott Cassel and crew worked on the CWMA project in Valley County and eastern Phillips County in 2012. • The CWMA grant is a $1: $1 match grant. Landowners, agencies that work within the project area and interested citizens can all assist with match.

  16. Water Monitoring • 2010 Water Monitoring Study • The Milk River Watershed Alliance teamed up with the Montana Departments of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources and Conservation to perform an intensive water quality sampling project for the Milk River. Grant funds made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) will be utilized to implement the project. • The MRWA effort is directed toward bolstering existing water quality data, filling in data gaps, and infusing local input into the future development of Milk River TMDLs and implementation of future water quality plans.

  17. Water Monitoring • Samples were collected at 10 comprehensive sampling suites between Fresno Dam and the Mouth of the Milk River in two distinct rounds during the course of the 2010 irrigation season. • The data will lay the foundation for meaningful Milk River TMDLs and help fortify future efforts to improve the quality of our water.

  18. Mike Dailey with the DNRC in Glasgow sampling the Milk River in 2010.

  19. Issues Facing the Milk River Watershed… • Drought or Extreme Flooding • St. Mary’s Project • Noxious Weeds • Water Quality

  20. Droughts and Flooding • Early in 2013, the Milk River Watershed were facing drought conditions. • Two years out of the last three have seen severe late spring flooding. • Alfalfa Hay at all time low due to the severe drought conditions in the rest of the country.

  21. Milk River Valley Flooding Above – June 2011, looking north from the river Right – June 2013, looking south toward the river

  22. US Drought Conditions

  23. St. Mary’s Project • Section 5103 of the 2007 Water Resources Development Act authorized the rehabilitation of the St. Mary Diversion and Conveyance Works. The $153 million authorized have not yet been appropriated. • Lifeline of the Hi-LineThe U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s (USBR) St. Mary Facilities of the Milk River Project are in urgent need of rehabilitation. • The St. Mary Facilities, located on the Blackfeet Reservation in Glacier County, consists of a storage dam (Sherburne Dam), diversion dam, head gate, 29 miles of canal, two sets of steel siphons, and 5 concrete drop structures. • This system, which brings water from the St. Mary River Basin to the Milk River Basin, has been in operation for over 85 years with only minor repairs and improvements since its original construction…

  24. St. Mary’s Project • On November 18, 2003, Lt. Governor Karl Ohs convened a meeting in Havre, Montana, to raise awareness of the urgent need to rehabilitate the aging St. Mary Diversion and Conveyance Works. • The meeting set in motion a process through which representatives from the State of Montana, federal and tribal governments, and Milk River basin water users could work together to seek congressional authorization and funding to rehabilitate and modernize the system. • The St. Mary Rehabilitation Working Group was created to craft a “workable solution” for rehabilitation of the St. Mary facilities before the system suffers catastrophic failure.

  25. St. Mary’s Project St. Mary’s Siphon Photo courtesy of St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Project Website

  26. St. Mary’s Project St. Mary’s Siphon Photo courtesy of St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Project Website

  27. St. Mary’s Project St. Mary’s Siphon crossing Hall’s Coulee Photo courtesy of St. Mary’s Rehabilitation Project Website

  28. MRWA ~ working together to preserve, protect, and enhance natural resources within the Milk River Watershed while maintaining the quality of life.

  29. References • Websites • Milk River Watershed Council Canada • http://www.milkriverwatershedcouncil.ca/ • Montana Weed Control Association • http://www.mtweed.org/index.php • Montana Department of Natural Resources Conservation • http://www.dnrc.mt.gov/ • Montana State University Extension Service • http://www.msuextension.org/

  30. References • Websites • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention • http://dnrc.mt.gov/StMary/Default.aspEnvironmental Protection Agency • Montana Watershed Coordination Council • www.mtwatersheds.org • Montana Water Center • http://water.montana.edu/education/public.htm • Montana Water Center • http://water.montana.edu/education/public.htm

  31. A pdf copy of this presentation is available at http://milkriverwatershedalliance.com • E-mail the MRWA at milkriverwatershedalliance@hotmail.com to become involved in MRWA activities or for more information on any of the issues facing the MRWA • Thank you!