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Crow Irrigation Project – Rehabilitation and Improvement Programmatic EA Information Center

This web site is the online center for public information and involvement in the Crow Irrigation Project Programmatic Environmental Assessment (Crow Irrigation EA). Please refer to this web site to obtain the latest information on the project.

The Crow Nation and the Bureau of Reclamation, in cooperation with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, has prepared a Draft Programmatic Environmental Assessment (EA) to evaluate potential environmental issues associated with the rehabilitation and improvement of an existing irrigation system within the Crow Indian Reservation, Montana. This web site is the online center for public information and involvement in the EA process.

There are several ways that you, as a member of the public, can get involved in this process. First, get informed by reading more about the regulatory background and proposed activities for the project. Then, get involved by asking questions, providing comments, and attending public meetings associated with the project.

Draft Programmatic EA Available for Public Comment

The Draft Programmatic EA for the Rehabilitation and Improvement of the Crow Irrigation Project is now available for review and comment by the public until November 21, 2014. Please see the Public Comment page for more information and a link to the document.

Summary of Background and Need for the Project

Irrigation on the Crow Indian Reservation dates back over 100 years. During the early 1900s the Crow Irrigation Project (CIP) was built with federal funding and provided water to irrigate farmlands along the Bighorn River, Little Bighorn River, Pryor Creek, and Lodgegrass Creek. The CIP is managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and serves both tribal and non-tribal farmers.

Some of the project facilities are old and need repair or replacement to be able to provide a reliable irrigation water source. There is a need to implement the rehabilitation and improvement work for mutual benefits to the existing users and to address opportunities for future tribal uses. The amount of work needed to rehabilitate and improve the project is costly and beyond the means of the local water users. As part of the Crow Tribe’s water settlement, the federal government authorized funds to fix key facilities of the irrigation project. The Settlement Act designates Reclamation as the lead federal agency with a responsibility to protect and conserve trust assets of the Crow Tribe and of Tribal members. This responsibility extends to providing oversight of the expenditure of appropriated federal project funds to best serve the interests of the Tribe and its members. Project reviews are needed to ensure collective government actions taken by Interior agencies and the Tribe fulfill trust asset responsibilities, while meeting environmental laws and regulations.

Since federal funding is involved, a number of federal environmental laws and regulations apply. The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the principal law that requires a review of the project to address environmental, social, and economic values. The programmatic EA will serve as a basis to determine if there are any significant environmental effects caused by the project and any necessary mitigative steps.

 

Last Updated: October 17, 2014

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