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St. Mary Canal Construction To Continue Despite Coronavirus

A photo of the collapse of Drop 5 in the St. Mary Canal taken in mid-May 2020.
Karl Christians
Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
A photo of the collapse of Drop 5 in the St. Mary Canal taken in 2020.

The 14-day stay-at-home order the Blackfeet Tribal Council implemented for the reservation will not halt the construction on two structures of the St. Mary Canal that are on reservation land. 

Jennifer Patrick says the construction on Drop 2 and Drop 5 has been deemed essential, as the canal is part of a lifeline for the Montana Hi-Line, moving water from the St. Mary River to the Milk River Basin for use by two tribes, municipalities and irrigators.

Patrick is the project manager for the Milk River Joint Board of Control that is overseeing the construction of the concrete structures northeast of Babb on reservation land.

She says the crews will follow instructions from the Tribal Council and the state Disaster and Emergency Services and the remote location of the construction is an advantage.

Construction was temporarily halted earlier this week due to rain and saturated ground.

Kay Erickson has been working in broadcasting in Billings for more than 20 years. She spent well over a decade as news assignment editor at KTVQ-TV before joining the staff at YPR. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University, with a degree in broadcast journalism. Shortly after graduation she worked in Great Falls where she was one of the first female sports anchor and reporter in Montana.