29 Cattle Found Dead on Montana Reservation


The following article is from the Associated Press:

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — The Blackfeet Environmental Office suspects toxic concentrations of salt in a reservoir led to the deaths of more than two dozen cows on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation last week.

A rancher on the east side of the reservation reported the dead cattle to the environmental office last Thursday, Shawn Lahr told the Great Falls Tribune (http://bit.ly/orCkfl ) for a story published in Wednesday’s editions.

Lahr and others visited the site Monday and counted 29 dead cows. He said the animals apparently died after drinking water in a stagnant reservoir. Samples of the water and the cows’ blood have been sent to a lab for testing, Lahr said.

Aerial photos of the site show areas of white in the soil indicating high levels of salt, he said.

At high concentrations, salt water can be deadly to cattle said Jan Holzer, program director of the Montana Salinity Control Association in Conrad.

Holzer says this year’s higher precipitation levels resulted in a higher water table and the most saline seep the state has seen in a decade. Water seeps to the surface and evaporates, leaving behind naturally occurring salts.

Don Judice of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which oversees oil and gas development on the reservation, said the office checked, but found no connection between fluids discarded from exploration and the cattle deaths.

“Early indications are oil and gas action had absolutely nothing to do with the mortality of these cattle,” Judice said.

Information from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com


Source:  Associated Press

Posted by Haylie Shipp


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