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Water Resources

Water quality and quantity are critical factors in any land-based system. Water resources evaluation, planning, and management take many forms in Land IQ's work. We evaluate the quality and quantity of 1) agricultural water for the safety and benefit of crops and soils, and 2) industrial wastewater for land application and treatment, or when it is beneficially reused in a crop or native plant system. Other waters resources services that Land IQ provides include: water conservation, crop consumptive use estimation using water balance tools, and groundwater basin modeling.

Bureau of Indian Affairs Land Classification

land classification water rights salinity soil mapping Agriculture Water Resources

The Blackfeet Indian Reservation comprises approximately 1.5 million acres and is located in northwestern Montana on the east side of the Continental Divide. The dominant land use is grazing, followed by about 400,000 acres of dryland agriculture and 150,000 acres of upland game and timber management areas. Approximately 100,000 acres of land is currently in use as irrigated agriculture. For over a decade, Land IQ staff participated in land classification efforts for the entire reservation.

This classification effort was focused on detailed assessments of arability and irrigability with broad reaching drainage investigations for the purpose of avoiding salinization of lands, existing and proposed wetland delineations, stock water pond determinations, historic irrigation evaluations, water demand estimates for both agricultural and urban uses, and continuous ownership updates among other land development and evaluation activities. This comprehensive work effort was conducted under the direction of the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs on behalf of the Blackfeet Nation.

The work was completed to prepare for litigation or negotiation of the proposed overall water rights claim and resulted in significant documentation. Also, multiple mapping products were developed and updated over the decade-long activities. Work completed on the reservation contributed to establishing a final water rights claim that was presented to the State of Montana, Blackfeet Nation and the United States Department of the Interior. Efforts involved overall task management for approximately $1.8 million in labor, subconsultants, and expenses.