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Lewistown Field Office
Release Date: 06/10/11
Contacts: Craig Flentie 406-538-1943    

BLM Assessing Flood Damage

The ripple effect from the flooding and saturated ground in central Montana is now impacting landowners and livestock grazing permittees whose access to Bureau of Land Management (BLM) grazing allotments or their private property depends upon using BLM roads across public land.

“We know the recent rains and runoff throughout central Montana have damaged a number of BLM roads, but like most land managing agencies, we just haven’t yet been able to get staff out across the district to determine how much and where,” offered Stan Benes, the BLM’s Central Montana District Manager. 

The BLM has been gathering damage reports from adjacent landowners and grazing permittees who have discovered damaged BLM roads. In some cases, those roads are no longer passable.
“As quickly as conditions allow, we’ll send folks out to inventory the damage; we’ll prioritize the needs, and start looking for the funds to pay for repairs. In the interim, we’ve had a couple of folks ask about using their own equipment to repair BLM roads. However, unless an individual has a right-of-way agreement for the BLM road segment in question, he or she cannot make road repairs. 
If the road or culvert damage is severe enough to prevent a permittee from using a BLM grazing allotment, that individual should contact his or her assigned BLM rangeland management specialist to discuss management options as quickly as possible,” Benes added.
Kipp Recreation Area, Maiden Road and Lowery Bridge Recreation Area Closed
The BLM has closed three areas due to concerns about public safety. The Kipp Recreation Area (where U.S. Highway 191 crosses the Missouri River), a two mile portion of the Maiden Road (crossing public land north of the Giltedge town site in the Judith Mountains) and Lowry Bridge Recreation Area on the Sun River (on U.S. Highway 21, near Simms, Montana) remain closed.
Extreme water flows in the Missouri River have flooded the Kipp Recreation Area. Most of the popular recreation area is underwater and the roads and camping pads are so saturated they cannot handle traffic even if they were not covered with flood water. The area will remain closed until the water recedes and the agency can assess and repair the damages. 
That portion of the Maiden Road crossing public land north of Giltedge is so badly damaged it is impassable for vehicles. Some of the washouts along this road are estimated to be 8-10 feet deep.
The Lowry Bridge Recreation Area is also flooded and closed indefinitely. Again, this recreation area will remain closed until the water recedes and BLM can assess and repair the damages. 

As quickly as the BLM can assess the damaged roads, culverts, fences and reservoirs throughout the district, the damages will be prioritized for repairs and the agency will begin searching for funding to pay for reconstruction work. 

Photo of damage in Judith Mountains

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Lewistown Field Office   920 NE Main      Lewistown, MT 5959457   

Last updated: 06-28-2012