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Water Resources

The Division of Water Resources is responsible for providing technical assistance to 36 tribal governments and reservations and BIA agencies within Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The estimated water within the trust, and treaty Indian lands, include 2.2 million acres of water bodies, 4.8 million acre of wetlands and over 15,000 miles of streams.

  • BIA Water Resources programs
    • Water Resource management, Planning and Pre-Development program is focused on assisting tribes in managing, conserving and utilizing trust water resources to create sustainable economies for reservations.
    • Water Rights Quantification in this region has a primary priority to provide all necessary documentation and other material deemed necessary to protect Indian tribes from encroachment and enforce riparian rights.
  • BIA Safety of Dams Program established by the Indian Dams Safety Act of 1994 (Public Law No. 103-302), serves specifically to protect people, property, resources and the environment for dams on Indian trust lands.  The Bureau has also been authorized by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nations Act of 2016 - Section 3101 (WIIN Act – Safety of Dams) to address deferred maintenance needs on all dams meeting BIA program criteria.
    • Hazard Classification
    • Emergency Action Planning
    • Emergency Action Functional Exercises
    • Standard Operating Procedures for the operation and maintenance
    • Early Warning System (EWS) and maintenance
    • Monitoring and analysis of the EWS notifications from the National Monitoring Center
    • Directing repair and monitoring effectiveness and maintenance
    • Scheduling for deferred maintenance and rehabilitation
  • BIA Hydroelectric Licensing Program is authorized to develop licensing conditions consistent with the Secretary of the Interior’s authority under the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. § 791 et seq.) for Indian Reservations impacted by private hydroelectric power operations and licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
    • Relicensing process
      • Section 4(e) Prescription of conditions on the license to mitigate impacts
      • Section 10(e) Annual Charges to be paid to Indian Tribes for the use of lands
    • Monitoring for compliance with license articles designed to mitigate impacts
  • Liaison for Indian Affairs - Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development- Division of Energy and Mineral Development.  This Division assists tribes with environmentally responsible exploration, development and management of various energy and mineral resources to create sustainable economies for reservations.

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