Monday, June 24, 2024

Mission Reservoir closed to fishing

| September 7, 2023 12:00 AM

The CSKT Natural Resources Department Water Monitoring and Measurement Program recently observed that water levels at Mission Reservoir had dropped to a point that raised safety concerns for the local fish populations and overall fisheries ecosystem. The reservoir is located east of St. Ignatius.

After reviewing the situation, the CSKT Tribal Council, in accordance with its authority to preserve and protect the health and quality of tribal fisheries, closed the reservoir to all fishing activities until water levels reach established marks.

The closure does not prevent other recreational activities at the reservoir, such as swimming. However, all motorized, or other vehicle traffic, is prohibited on the bed and banks of the exposed reservoir.

The CSKT Water Monitoring and Measurement Program will continue checking the water levels and fishing restrictions will be assessed as the situation develops.

Mission Dam is owned and operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the reservoir is utilized as a major storage facility for the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project (FIIP). As part of FIIP reservoir operations, the project is required to maintain minimum water levels at selected reservoirs in order to protect tribal fisheries and provide sufficient water supply throughout the irrigation system.

Officials said the fishing restrictions placed in effect Aug. 28 are not expected to have any impact on downstream irrigation project operations. For more information about the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project, call 406-745-2661.