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Bureau of Reclamation in Montana

The Pacific Northwest Region's area of operation in Montana is the upper Columbia River System drainage west of the Continental Divide, and includes the Clark Fork, Flathead, and Bitterroot rivers. Reclamation's involvement in Montana began in 1930 with the Bitter Root Project. Since then, four projects have been constructed under the direction of the Pacific Northwest Region. Three of these are operated and maintained by the farmers and water users.

Activities in Montana ( west of the Continental Divide ) are administered through the Columbia-Cascades Area Office. Hungry Horse Dam is administered by the Grand Coulee Power Office.

Columbia-Cascades Area Office
1917 Marsh Road
Yakima, WA 98901-2058
(509) 575-5848

Grand Coulee Power Office
P.O. Box 620
Grand Coulee, WA 99133-0620
(509) 633-1360


Although Montana has vast water resources in terms of rivers and streams, the average annual precipitation varies from only 13 inches in the east to 18 inches in the west. For this reason Montana farmers have always depended on irrigation for the state's agricultural success.

With the creation of the Reclamation Service in 1902, Montana began to benefit from such irrigation projects as the Lower Yellowstone Project, Milk River Project, and Sun River Project, that brought valuable water and life to Montana's crops.

As the West grew, there came a need for multipurpose projects, such as the Hungry Horse Project, that provided hydropower, recreation, and flood control benefits in addition to irrigation benefits. Reclamation also constructed irrigation projects on several Montana Indian Reservations that are managed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Throughout the state's history, Reclamation's projects have provided the foundation for the settlement, development, and economic well-being of Montana.

Related Links

Montana Projects and Facilities

VARQ and Upper Columbia Alternative Flood Control EIS

For information on Montana east of the Continental Divide visit http://www.usbr.gov/gp/.


Last Update: December 3, 2013 3:17 PM