Posted: Aug 1, 2012 11:22 AM by Dennis Bragg - KPAX News
Updated: Aug 1, 2012 11:22 AM
POLSON- Negotiators are hoping a special open house on Wednesday evening will help answer some of the growing questions over a proposed water pact for the Flathead Basin.
The federal government, Montana agencies and the Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes have been working for years to iron out a water agreement that sets up a long-term management plan to follow court rulings and historical treaties.
The Joint Commission is close to having a draft that would be forwarded to Congress, the Montana Legislature and Tribal Council for approval. But the current details making the rounds this summer are generating a lot of questions from farmers, ranchers and property owners in the Mission Valley, who worry about how water will be allocated in the future.
In an effort to answer the questions, the Joint Commission is sponsoring an open house this evening at the KwaTaqNuk Resort in Polson to discuss the status of the negotiations and answer questions.
The open house itself runs from 4 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. and will give people a chance to discuss the talks and the draft proposals with leaders of the federal and state agencies and the tribe. From 5:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., there will be a formal presentation outline the elements of the negotiated settlement, followed by an additional hour when people can offer comments and ask additional questions.
Members of the Joint Commission have already extended the public comment period on the negotiated settlement twice, but are still hoping to a final draft ready for consideration this fall.