Daines Secures DOI Response on St. Mary’s Milk River Next Steps

U.S. SENATE – U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) has determined the Drop 2 and Drop 5 of the St. Mary’s River Project qualify as emergency work which will allow repairs to go forth with less strain on Montanans. This follows Daines’ request to Department of the Interior Secretary Bernhardt to make this decision expeditiously.

“I’m glad the administration responded to the St. Mary’s Joint Board and my request to make this decision and do everything in their power to lessen the burden on water-users ,” Daines said. “The St. Mary’s Milk River Project is the life-line of the Hi-Line and reconstruction is critical for rural jobs, ag operations, and water supply. There’s more work to be done, but I won’t stop fighting for the resources needed to repair this system for Montanans.”


Last Wednesday, Daines introduced an amendment to a major defense bill, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to repair the St. Mary Canal and Conveyance Works system.

Last Monday, Daines sent a letter to leaders of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee urging quick consideration and passage of his bipartisan St. Mary’s Reinvestment Act.

On June 29th, 2020 Daines sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security and to U.S. Customs and Border Protection urging them to allow access through Emigrant Gap Road to provide for the expedited construction of the St. Mary Milk River project. On July 7, DHS and CBP granted access.

On June 29th, 2020, Daines called Secretary Bernhardt urging him to expedite making the emergency extraordinary operation and maintenance work determination.

On June 12, 2020, Daines sent a letter to the Department of Interior requesting Secretary Bernhardt monitor reconstruction closely and do everything within his authority to alleviate the burden on irrigators and stakeholders.

On May 18th, 2020, Daines sent a letter to Bureau of Reclamation requesting the agency move expeditiously to determine St. Mary’s reconstruction qualifies as emergency extraordinary operation and maintenance work.