- Associated Press - Friday, August 21, 2015

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit from non-tribal farmers and ranchers seeking to gain control of an irrigation project on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen on Wednesday rejected the Flathead Irrigation District’s 2014 claim that the Bureau of Indian Affairs cannot rightfully regain management of the water system in northwestern Montana.

The court also denied the district’s attempt to add a recent tribal water compact to its complaint.

The Flathead Irrigation District and Joint Board of Control did not return calls for comment Friday afternoon.

The project currently pumps irrigation water to about 127,000 acres of agricultural land on the reservation and in Flathead, Missoula, Lake, and Sanders counties of Montana.

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