Project Win: Jocko K Canal Headworks Project

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The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) have selected the McMillen Jacobs Water Resource Division to design irrigation, fisheries protection, and passage structures for the Jocko K Canal Headworks Project, which spans the Jocko River and initiates the Jocko K Canal.

The canal is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation (about 5 miles east of Arlee, MT) and is the primary distribution and delivery canal for approximately 5,000 irrigated acres as part of the Flathead Indian Irrigation Project (FIIP). Diversion occurs in a reach of the Jocko River listed as critical habitat for the Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus), as well as a range of additional ecological, social and cultural uses of water.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs and CKST have designated the headworks project as a high priority for reconstruction because of operational and operator safety issues and fisheries management and protection deficiencies. Reconstruction and rehabilitation at the headworks project site provide opportunities to create an operationally effective diversion that allows FIIP Operators to match water diversion closely to irrigation demand, thereby increasing efficiency and improving water conservation.

The Owner’s goals with the incorporation of McMillen Jacobs’ expertise on the Project Team are to expedite the design process, ensure that the construction endpoint is front and center throughout the design process, ensure that the full range of constructability issues are addressed, ensure that project costs are accurately developed, and ensure design to the level required for construction—but not beyond that level. The CSKT Water Rights Compact will require irrigation water conservation, and the Owner will continuously look for a design delivery that provides the infrastructure needed for greater water conservation across the Facility and irrigation service area.

Vincent Autier will serve as Project Manager. The current implementation timeframe calls for completion of the design and permitting in 2020, with construction to be started in 2021. Led by Vincent, McMillen Jacobs will further refine the critical timeline as they develop the design, cost, and construction details.