Is funding for the St. Mary Irrigation Project on the rocks in the Montana Legislature? Apparently so.

It's a lifeline to the Hi Line. When you look at how important agriculture is to our economy, especially across the northern tier of Montana all along Highway 2, you also need to look at how important irrigation is to the farmers and ranchers.

We got a phone call from Jeff Pattison with the Milk River Watershed Alliance. He's a former lawmaker from Glasgow. He says lawmakers are looking at how to spend the near $900 million in federal COVID funds, and it now appears that some Montana lawmakers don't want to fund the St. Mary Irrigation Project.

The Milk River Watershed Alliance shared an update on their Facebook page and are urging Montanans to contact their lawmakers in support of funding:

The influx of ARPA funding could be the silver bullet to address the ongoing 30 year ask from the Hi-Line to fix their water supply. It is imperative action be taken to address this issue in HB 632, this has been our best chance.

"If we lose the Milk River, you might as well just take the top half of the map of Montana and tear it off. It’s that significant.” That was the quote shared by Pattison in a great piece written by the Tri-State Livestock News (TSLN) a while back. He was talking about the St. Mary Irrigation project that stretches across Montana's Hi Line.

While serving as the state's lone member of Congress, now Governor Greg Gianforte (R-MT) called the project "the most important infrastructure project in Montana,” according to TSLN.

Check out the full audio of our conversation with Jeff Pattison from Wednesday morning:


Read More: Spilled Milk: Great Read Detailing Hi Line Infrastructure |

Read More: A Lifeline to the Hi Line: Why the Milk River Matters |

Read More: HB 632 Allocates ARPA Funds to Infrastructure and Education |

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