Support the Bypass Channel, Save the Farmer AND the Fish!


Community Leaders in Eastern Montana and members for the Lower Yellowstone Irrigation Project are urging people to attend three public meetings this week with the Army Corps of Engineers, in support of the proposed By-Pass Channel for the Intake Diversion Dam north of Glendive.

There is concern that some environmental groups have been soliciting support to go to the Billings public meeting on June 30th in favor of removing the intake diversion dam,   Community leaders are providing buses to take local people from Savage, Crane, Sidney, Fairview, and Dore and surrounding areas to Billings to ensure that the farmers and ranchers who would be impacted by changed to the diversion dam have a voice.


The three meetings are detailed below:


·         Tuesday in Sidney at the Richland County Event Center on June 28th at 5:30 pm.

·         Wednesday in Glendive at the Dawson County High School Auditorium on June 29th at 5:30pm.

·         Thursday in Billings at the Lincoln Center on June 30th at 5:30pm.



The following is a portion of the letter sent out by James Brewer, Lower Yellowstone Irrigation District manager, to explain the importance of attending these meetings.


Your Help and attendance is Needed to help secure the Future of Your family, farm or ranch, and our community at the upcoming Intake dam fish passage Public Comment meetings to be held in Billings, Sidney, and Glendive. These Meetings will help determine the continuation of low cost farming and Livestock feed.  These meetings are of the utmost importance to not only the farmers and ranchers serviced by the Irrigation Project, but everyone in the surrounding communities. A large turnout will help show that we are united as a community in support of the Bypass Channel that will help not only the pallid sturgeon but every other aquatic species in the river. The Bypass Channel is the best chance to help the endangered species while still keeping the Irrigation Project, Sidney Sugars, Anheuser Busch, Feed lots, and the research stations viable!

If you think you can’t take time to attend these meetings because your crop production or business may suffer if you are gone for a day, ask yourself how much crop production or business will I have if they remove the dam?  How will removal of the dam effect my drinking well or the city’s water supply?  Removing the dam would ruin pump sites of other water right owners near the dam. Go to Billings and let them know you support the farmers!

Local Community Leaders will be providing buses to take local people from Savage, Crane, Sidney, Fairview, and Dore and surrounding areas to Billings Thursday June 30th! Meals and Refreshments will be provided!  So that the local people who have the most to lose will have their vote counted in Billings in front of the media that the Anti Dam people arranged.  It has never been More Important that everybody make the trip to Billings Thursday June 30th to be counted in Support of keeping our weir and the Fish Bypass.

*The Sidney meeting will be held Tuesday at the Richland County Event Center on June 28th at 5:30 pm.

*The Glendive Meeting will be held Wednesday at the Dawson County High School Auditorium on June 29th at 5:30pm. Buses will begin leaving to take people to Glendive from the South parking lot of the Sidney High School at 4:30pm with the last bus leaving at 5:30pm so people can catch a bus after work.

*The Billings meeting will be held Thursday, June 30th at the Lincoln Center at 5:30pm (415 North 30th ST, Billings MT). Buses will begin leaving from the Sidney High School South Parking lot at 12:30pm with the last bus leaving at 1:30pm so people can catch the bus after Ag Days.


The Environmental Impact Study showed the Bypass Channel to be the best Alternative for the Fish and the Farmer; instead of forcing us to become a high acre cost Pumping District that could suffer water outages like Buffalo Rapids Fallon Pumps experienced for an entire month with some farms losing crops.  We want to keep our existing system that has been reliable for the last 107 years and is simple to fix! Contact the LYP office at (406)-433-1306 to find out how to submit and official comment.

In order to be counted Each public comment must contain a new or unique concern!  Many people sending in the same concern will only be counted as 1 comment!  The Most helpful comment would contain just one new concern, possibly from the examples below, but not the same one other people are known to have used and could be just 1 or 2 sentences and mailed or emailed to the addresses below:

1)            Email:  

***This has been verified correct***


2)  Mail:

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Omaha District,

Attn: CENWO-PM-AA; 1616 Capitol Avenue

Omaha, Nebraska 68102


3) Dropped off at the REDC or LYIP offices


4) Public Meetings: Verbal recorded at a booth or handwritten

* Each comment should include a first initial and last name but not your address or phone number because it will become public.


Have your friends send in 1 different comment each if they agree with the comment or think of their own.




The Water Users of the Lower Yellowstone Area



·        Wind Turbines will kill eagles and other important birds. Do the wind generators have the potential to harm more species of concern then the proposed concrete weir? 

·        Does Piping or lining of irrigation delivery ditches reduce shallow aquifer recharge that supports local streams, ponds and wetlands and shallow drinking wells? Less runoff from irrigation water conservation will destroy and reduce wetlands supported by this runoff which hurts the endangered whooping crane by destroying and reducing its habitat.

·        Power generation for proposed Pumps will contribute large amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere when the wind generation is insufficient.  The National Power grid will have to build co2 producing back up power generators in order to balance the power grid when the wind is not correct.

·        Vegetation loss around reduced spills which will destroy and reduce a significant amount of local wildlife habitat including aquatic species habitat.

·        Removal of the Intake dam will drop the river by several feet drying up 2 significant water side channels that scientific study has proven are important to Yellowstone fish species!

·        Increased cost of Maintaining pumps will drive farmers, Sidney Sugars plant, Anheuser Busch out of business and hurt the businesses that are supported by them and their employees.  This will significantly reduce city and county tax income that pays for necessary government services like police, fire departments, ambulances, road repair, and city sewer repair.

·        Increased cost of Maintaining and operating large pumps will drive farmers out of business and the LYIP will no longer be able to maintain and operate the expensive pumps. This will stop the existing irrigation of 58,000 acres which will stop the irrigation recharge of the shallow aquifers that supports the stream, riparian habitat, and wetlands that support a lot of important species of concern and Recharge local drinking wells including the cities.

·        Significant water conservation will reduce shallow aquifer recharge and dry up Local drinking wells that will no longer be recharged by irrigation runoff and seepage.  The city’s water supply will stop being recharged by irrigation, thus greatly increasing costs for city water to All residents.

·        Overall economy will take a downturn without ample crop production.

·        Power lines installed to run the pumps will endanger migratory birds and other species.

·        Pheasant & Sage Grouse habitat will be harmed by miles of construction and water conservation reducing irrigation support of habitat.

·        Conservation measures such as wind turbines will have very high maintenance costs and short lifespans.

·        What is the historical capacity factor for wind generators in Montana, Wyoming, or North Dakota? Are they sure they have planned enough electrical generators to offset all the irrigation project pump demand without a diversion weir?  Historically, How many years does a wind generator produce its peak rated electrical production before vibration and wear reduce its electrical generation efficiency?

·        Reduced water causing lower sugar beet production will make the Sidney Sugars Plant economically unfeasible Hurting the economy from Terry, Montana to Trenton, North Dakota and from Richey, Montana to Alexander, North Dakota.

·        Disturbance of private property with the construction of pumping plants and pipelines. 

·        Probable use of imminent domain to override private land owner’s rights of denial when constructing new pumping plants and pipelines.

·        Substantial noise pollution caused by pumps and backup generators disturbing previously tranquil areas and neighbors.

·        Disturbance of wildlife habitat that supports other endangered species by the construction of pumping plants and pipelines. 

·        Visual disturbance caused by new high voltage power lines to all 5 pumping stations.

·        Underwater metal, noise, and vibration caused by pumps that will disturb fish and other aquatic wildlife.

·        Maintenance and disposal of worn out wind generators is costly and fills landfills.  How toxic are the materials wind generators are made out of?

·        Pump sites are in danger of frequent ice damage that will result in extremely high costs.

·        Wind Generators are historically underperforming in eastern Montana.

·        High cost of wind generator repair and maintenance.

·        Wind generators last 20 years at best and will have to be hauled out of the area by trucks or train systems and taking up space in landfills.

·        Piping all the laterals to accommodate pumping will be costly and stop local aquifer recharge.

·        We have photos of frequent Significant Ice Damage 1,000s’ of feet away from the river. Won’t the automatic fish screens and pump controls and backup generators be susceptible to severe Ice Damage and flooding for all 5 pump sites. 

·        The 5 new intake channels and fish screens will be subject to significant river bank erosion and migration.

·        Pumps are subject to unplanned long term outages caused by mechanical breakdown sometimes requiring the manufacture of replacement parts or piping system break down like the Buffalo Rapids Fallon Pump site that lasted over 1 month in 2016 and significantly damaged crops and reduced farm production and cost over $200,000 to fix!  The LYIP’s gravity diversion has a 108 year record of extreme reliability and simple repair processes.

·        Visual and wildlife disturbance caused by new wind generators to provide high voltage required to power all 5 pumping stations.

·        Pumps are subject to frequent electrical outages and lightening damage.  Sudden drops in water levels cause significant sloughing of saturated dirt canal banks which can block canals and cause public flooding.  This type of sloughing narrows and weakens the canal banks which contributes to canal ruptures and dangerous public flooding.  The LYIP’s gravity diversion has a 108 year record of extreme reliability and simple repair procedures.

Source:  Northern Ag Network, James Brewer and Lower Yellowstone Irrigation District 

Photo Credits:  Lower Yellowstone Intake Diversion Dam, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x