CSKT Would Manage Bison Range In Exchange For Water Deal

The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes would manage the National Bison Range in exchange for concessions on water rights, according to draft legislation Montana Sen. Steve Daines is expected to introduce in Congress.

Both Daines and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes announced last week that they had come to an agreement to settle thousands of water rights claims otherwise destined for court. That settlement is outlined in legislation Daines is set to introduce in the Senate.

MTPR gained access to a draft copy of the bill. It would also transfer management of the National Bison Range on the reservation from the federal government to the tribe in exchange for concessions they made on their water rights. As part of the deal, the tribes would agree to lower the amount of federal funding they would receive for an irrigation project by $400 million.