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Flathead Water Management Board selects local as fifth member

Georgia Smies selected to join Board

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News from CSKT/MT Dept. of Natural Resources & Conservation 

HELENA — Appointed members of the Flathead Reservation Water Management Board selected Georgia Smies to serve as the fifth board member on Feb. 2, 2022, during the second meeting of the Board. The Secretary of the Interior will select a sixth, ex-officio member, which will complete the board selection process. 

“I consider this a great honor to serve on the board. My career has evolved around the study of our natural resources, and I expect to draw on that lifetime of work to carry out my responsibilities,” Smies said. “Like so many others I have watched the evolution of the water compact and I’m excited and feeling blessed to work with a very talented team.”

Smies is an aquatic biologist and educator who previously worked as a water quality specialist. She is currently a wildlife and fisheries instructor at Salish Kootenai College.

The Board meets next on Feb. 10, with the focus on hiring an engineer who will head an office to accept and process requests related to water use on the Flathead Indian Reservation. The engineer’s office will evaluate requests and present to the board with recommendations.

Four board members were previously appointed, including Roger Noble, Kenneth Pitt, Clayton Matt and Teresa Wall-McDonald. The Board is the exclusive regulatory body for water rights administration on the Flathead Reservation, including the issuance of new water rights, changes to existing and future rights, and enforcement of water rights. 

Pursuant to the CSKT-MT Water Compact (MCA 85-20-1901) and the accompanying Unitary Administration and Management Ordinance (MCA 85-20-1902 and CSKT Ordinance 111-A), the Board is comprised of two members appointed by the Montana Governor; two members appointed by the CSKT Tribal Council and the four appointed members will select a fifth member. The Secretary of the Interior selects a sixth, ex-officio member.

Board meetings are held in partnership between the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation.

Recordings of meetings and notice of future Board meetings will be posted on the DNRC Compact Implementation Program and CSKT Water Rights websites.

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