FJBC issues to be aware of
There are several important issues area irrigators should be aware of.
1 - 2018 FIP Operation & Maintenance increase: the FJBC earlier this fall approved a $3/acre O&M increase for 2018, first half just showed up on your fall 2017 taxes, this is a $363,000 increase. Note: project manager ordered 10 new pickups after increase was approved, FJBC was told increase was to hire more ditch riders and supplies, 10 pickups at $22,000= $220,000. This is one more reason for irrigator control over Flathead Irrigation.
2 - A group called Mission Valley Irrigators are trying to break up the Flathead Joint Board of Control, a suit has been filed in District Court. There are three major reasons this should alarm you. First, the USA will not turn Flathead Irrigation over to three small irrigation districts to operate, that’s why the FJBC was formed, to operate Flathead Irrigation. Second, the low-cost block of power from Kerr Dam will be lost. FJBC as a representative of the districts have been working in DC with the Federal Power Commission to save this valuable recourse which secures cheaper power for Flathead pumps. Finally, the FJBC has appealed to the 9th circuit court for loss of operation of the Flathead Irrigation Project in 2014, as you know Irrigators ran FIP from 2010 to 2014 with great success and major repair and renovation. More work was done in four years than the BIA did in 25 years. Note: no FJBC, no Flathead Irrigation Project control. Irrigators need to call this group and express the danger to FIP irrigators’ pocket books if they’re successful.
3 - Water rights: the FJBC has hired Hafferman Engineering to prepare water rights filed in 1982 with the Montana DNRC for the Montana Water Court in 2018. His firm is matching Irrigated acres from the project to the water rights filed by Mr. Foust and the FJBC in 1982, and preparing issue remarks. Work is going very well, and we should be ready for the July 2018 deadline.
Mission District Commissioner