Tribal Nations

Contact: Reclamation Public Affairs

In FY 2019, Reclamation will continue significant support of tribal nations. Funding is requested for Indian water rights settlements authorized by Congress, including the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, and the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016. In addition to requesting funding consistent with current activity, these settlements will draw on their available mandatory funding to continue project activities. Funding is also requested to support tribal water settlements within several projects, including the Nez Perce Settlement within Columbia and Snake River Salmon Recovery Project, the San Carlos Apache Tribe Water Settlement Act, the Ak-Chin Indian Water Rights Settlement Act, and the Colorado Ute Settlement through the Animas La Plata project. Other significant efforts supporting tribes include the Native American Affairs Program, and rural water projects that benefit tribes.

The FY 2019 Budget proposes $127.4 million in discretionary funding for Indian water rights settlements, as well as $10.6 million for the continued support of the Native American Affairs Program. In addition to discretionary funding, settlements will also draw on available mandatory funding to support current implementation activities. In FY 2019, funding priority is given to those settlements where resources are needed to meet mandated completion dates.

Crow Tribe Water Rights Settlement Act (MT)

Title IV of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 provides for two major construction projects and provides $219.8 million of mandatory funds and authorizes for appropriation $158.4 million of discretionary funds for their construction. These discretionary and mandatory funds are subject to indexing.

  • Rehabilitation and Improvement of the Crow Irrigation Project (CIP).
  • Design and Construction of the Municipal, Rural, & Industrial System (MR&I).

Under the Crow settlement, Reclamation is requesting $12.8 million in appropriations for FY 2019.

Taos Pueblo Indian Water Rights Act (NM)

Title V of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 authorizes the transfer of $16 million in mandatory funds, and authorizes to be appropriated to the Secretary of Interior an additional $20 million for deposit into a non-interest bearing Taos Settlement Fund between fiscal years 2011 and 2016. Reclamation will then provide financial assistance in the form of grants on a non-reimbursable basis to eligible non-Pueblo entities to plan, permit, design, engineer, and construct Mutual-Benefit Projects in accordance with the Settlement Agreement. In FY 2016, Reclamation fulfilled the requirement to deposit $20.0 million in discretionary funding into the Taos Settlement Fund and the Secretary published a finding in the Federal Register stating that all seven precedent conditions had been fulfilled, including the full funding of the settlement by both Reclamation and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Aamodt Litigation Settlement Act (NM)

Title VI of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 authorizes: (1) the Aamodt Litigation Settlement Agreement; (2) construction of the Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System (RWS); (3) acquisition of water rights; and (4) the establishment of the Aamodt Settlement Pueblos' Fund, totaling $62.5 million. The Act provided $56.4 million in mandatory funding and authorized $50.0 million in appropriations for the construction of the RWS (both amounts are subject to indexing). The settlement serves the Pojoaque, San Ildefonso, and Tesuque Pueblos. Under the Aamodt settlement, Reclamation is requesting $8.3 million in appropriations for FY 2019.

White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act (AZ)

Title III of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 provided $152.7 (most of which is subject to indexing) in mandatory funds and authorized $16.0 million in appropriations for the construction of a Rural Water System. For the construction of the Rural Water System, the White Mountain Apache Tribe Water Rights Quantification Act is authorized to use the mandatory funds which were made available under the Claims Resolution Act. No discretionary funding for this settlement is requested in FY 2019.

Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project (NM, AZ)

Reclamation is requesting $69.6 million in FY 2019 for the implementation of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, authorized by Title X of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (P.L. 111- 11). This project is a key element of the Navajo Nation Water Rights Settlement on the San Juan River. This project will provide a reliable and sustainable municipal, industrial, and domestic water supply from the San Juan River to 43 Chapters of the Navajo Nation including the Window Rock, AZ area; the city of Gallup, NM; the Navajo Agricultural Products Industry; and the southwest portion of the Jicarilla Apache Nation Reservation. These entities rely on a rapidly declining groundwater supply that is inadequate to meet present and projected needs. As part of the major infrastructure project, Reclamation is authorized to construct, operate and maintain this water supply system to meet these projected demands. This project is required to be completed in 2024, and it is on schedule.

Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement (MT)

In FY 2019, Reclamation's discretionary request includes funding to support the newly enacted Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act of 2016. Title II, Subpart G, of the WIIN Act ratifies the Blackfeet Nation-Montana Compact and authorizes the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement which finalizes water rights and finances programs for managing water and projects that will provide wet water to individuals on and off the reservation. In FY 2019, Reclamation is requesting $10.0 million towards meeting the $246.5 million requirement for Reclamation's role in settlement implementation. The WIIN Act requires the full funding amount to be received no later than January 21, 2025. No funding for construction is to be available until the enforceability requirements of the Settlement are met.

Animas La Plata Project (CO, NM)

The Animas-La Plata Project request of $2.8 million for FY 2019 includes funding for continued life cycle operation and maintenance of facilities as well as the associated wetland and wildlife mitigation lands.

Nez Perce/Columbia-Snake River Salmon Recovery (ID, OR, WA)

The FY 2019 budget requests $19 million for salmon recovery, of which $6.1 million is in direct support of the Nez Perce Water Rights Settlement. Reclamation acquires up to 487,000 acre-feet of water from willing sellers for Snake River flow augmentation under the Upper Snake Irrigation Projects Biological Opinion and to meet Reclamation obligations under the Nez Perce Water Rights Settlement. In addition, this program supports actions required by Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries biological opinions on operation of the Federal Columbia River Power System (FCRPS). The NOAA Fisheries 2014 FCRPS Biological Opinion (BiOp) was issued in response to litigation and represents collaboration with States and Tribes in the Columbia River Basin.

Reclamation, along with the other action agencies, entered into multiple 10-year memoranda of agreement with three states and seven tribes to support the FCRPS BiOp; this program funds Reclamation actions included in those agreements. In total, 13 species of anadromous salmon and steelhead have been listed by NOAA Fisheries and two non-anadromous species (Kootenai River white sturgeon and bull trout) have been listed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Columbia River Basin that could be affected by operation of the FCRPS.

Arizona Water Settlements Act

Through the Arizona Water Settlements Act, the Secretary provides delivery of substantial amounts of water to several Tribes as part of this this Indian Water Settlement. Funding in support of the delivery of Central Arizona Project water is derived from the Lower Colorado River Basin Development Fund (LCRBDF). Reclamation is also providing substantial mandatory funds from the LCRBDF to construct and modernize water supply and delivery facilities authorized in the Arizona Water Rights Settlement Act.

Ak-Chin Indian Water Rights Settlement Act Project

The Ak-Chin Settlement Act facilitates delivery of Colorado River water through the Central Arizona Project to irrigated lands on the Ak-Chin Indian Reservation. The Act requires that this water be delivered at no cost to the Ak-Chin Community. The FY 2019 request of $16.2 million continues the operation and maintenance functions and repairs to the delivery canal associated with the delivery of 85,000 acre-feet of Central Arizona Project water to the Ak-Chin Community.

San Carlos Apache Tribe Water Settlement Act

The San Carlos Apache Tribe and Reclamation signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOU) in 2013 establishing a plan of action for implementing Section 3707 of the San Carlos Apache Water Rights Settlement Act, P.L. 102-575, which requires the Secretary to design and construct new facilities for the delivery of the Tribes 12,700 acre-feet Central Arizona Project allocation. The MOU requires an economic development plan (EDP) to be completed in advance of moving forward with project construction. Under the San Carlos Tribe settlement, Reclamation is requesting $1.6 million in discretionary funding for FY 2019. These funds are in addition to funds available from the Lower Colorado River Basin Development Fund (LCRBDF).

Native American Affairs Program

This request includes $10.6 million for the Native American Affairs Program to continue support of Reclamation activities with Indian Tribes. These activities include providing technical support for Indian Water Rights Settlements; assisting tribal governments to develop, manage, protect their water and related resources; and supporting Indian self-governance and self-determination programs. This funding will also strengthen Department-wide capabilities to achieve an integrated and systematic approach to Indian water rights negotiations to consider the full range of economic, legal, and technical attributes of proposed settlements.

Other

There are several other Reclamation projects that also support Tribal Nations: the Trinity River Restoration Program, (CA), the Yakima River Basin Water Enhancement Project (WA) and portions of projects such as Klamath (OR, CA) and Lahontan Basin (NV, CA). Additionally, the following rural water projects provide significant support for Indian reservations: Fort Peck Reservation/Dry Prairie Rural Water System (MT), the Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin's Garrison Diversion Unit (ND), the Rocky Boys/North Central Montana Rural Water System (MT), and the Mni Wiconi Project (SD).

Updated: Feb. 13, 2018