BILLINGS, Mont. ─ Reclamation announces the release of the St. Mary Diversion Dam Replacement Project’s Draft Environmental Assessment (EA). The St. Mary Diversion Dam is part of Reclamation’s Milk River Project near Babb, Montana. Reclamation is requesting comments on the Draft EA by the public and stakeholders. The public comment period will run from March 29 to May 5, 2023. There will be a public meeting on the Draft EA to be held on April 19, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. at the Glacier Peaks Hotel Conference Room in Browning, Montana. The Draft EA analyzes the environmental effects of the Proposed Federal Action and is required for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act.
Reclamation proposes to replace the St. Mary Diversion Dam and Canal Headworks in its entirety with a low-head diversion dam, rock ramp, low flow channel, new headworks structure, an in-canal fish screen, and a fish bypass to return entrained fish to the St. Mary River. The proposed action includes the modernization of facilities critical to project operations. The purpose of the Proposed Federal Action is to continue the viable and effective operation of the St. Mary Unit of the Milk River Project, to improve fish passage for bull trout and other native fish, and to prevent fish entrainment in the St. Mary Canal.
The Draft EA can be found at St. Mary Diversion Dam and Canal (usbr.gov). Printed copies of the Draft EA can also be found at the local libraries at Browning, the Blackfeet Community College, Chester, Havre, Malta, the Malta Irrigation District, and the Glasgow Irrigation District. Comments can be submitted electronically via email to BOR-sha-MTA-FEACOMMENTS@usbr.gov or by mail to the following address:
Bureau of Reclamation
Montana Area Office
PO Box 30137
Billings, MT 59107-0137
Questions concerning the Draft EA should be directed to Lauri Teig at (406) 247-7668. Questions pertaining to the overall replacement project should be directed to Steve Darlinton at (406) 247-7322.