The compact provides $422 million in federal funding for water-related projects on the reservation. Montana contributed an additional $49 million. The money will become available to the Tribe over a number of years.
“The funding will pay for such projects as installing municipal water systems to all communities on the reservation,” Jerry Lunak, the Blackfeet Water Resources Director told Indian Country Media Network. “We expect upgrades to existing irrigation systems on the reservation, and cost sharing for tribal members and others to upgrade irrigation on tribal and allotted lands.”
The main community on the Blackfeet Reservation is Browning, Montana. It happens to be the eastern entrance to Glacier National Park, with its incredible landscapes, alpine meadows, crystal-clear lakes and the glaciated mountain range—plus hordes of visitors. The park had about three million visitors last year, and although Browning hosts just one of four entrances, this presents opportunity for the Blackfeet Nation.
In a bid to attract those tourists to Blackfeet country, another project is slated to further develop and upgrade several campgrounds on the reservation. The settlement will also provide funding to upgrade their recreational lakes and improve their fisheries.
These projects mean jobs and benefits for tribal members on the rural reservation.