The International St. Mary and Milk Rivers Study Board held public town hall meetings in Milk River, Alberta, and Shelby, Montana, in late October. Board members updated attendees on the study’s plans and progress and welcomed members of the study’s Public Advisory Group.
The study board took questions and comments from the audience, including members of the Public Advisory Group, which consists of local residents representing key interests in the area such as ranchers and municipalities.
About 70 participants attended between the two sessions. The study board presented its finalized work plan, which explains how the study will be carried out through 2025, how it is organized and who is involved. The work plan also is posted on the study board’s website.
The presentation touched on the basin’s history, how waters are shared between Canada and the United States and the activities that led to the study.
Questions afterwards touched on a variety of issues. Topics included repairing the St. Mary Canal that moves water from the St. Mary River into the Milk River on the US side of the border, the pros and cons of new storage reservoirs, the role of snowmelt in shared water management, and how channel loss and evaporation are calculated.
During the town hall meetings, questions ranged from the study’s geographic focus to impacts on Saskatchewan and if erosion is one of the issues the board will consider. Credit: IJC
A trio of fact sheets was provided to attendees including an explanation of the study, the geography and infrastructure of the St. Mary and Milk rivers, and how the waters of the rivers are apportioned between Canada and the United States.
The study board will host additional town halls in the future across the St. Mary and Milk River basins. More information can be found on the board website, and comments can be sent to the board using a contact form. Comments for the study board are always welcome.
Attendees of the Milk River, Alberta, meeting discuss what they heard. Credit: Beau Hawkings
Kevin Bunch is a writer-communications specialist at the IJC’s US Section office in Washington, D.C.