Shoshone-Bannock Tribes Approve Emergency Drought Declaration for the Fort Hall Reservation

Shoshone-Bannock Tribes

Fort Hall– On July 27, 2021, the Fort Hall Business Council approved a resolution presented by the Land Use Range department to declare a drought emergency for the Fort Hall Reservation. Like the nation, Idaho is in a historic year for extreme heat and drought conditions. 

According to the resolution, ‘The Reservation has had low snowpack coupled with the hottest June weather on record and looking like another hot July on the record with little to no precipitation expected this summer. And, humidity dropping to single digits which means for potential high wild fire season.’ In addition, ‘Vegetation in the Fort Hall Range Units and the Fort Hall Bottoms are being temporarily and permanently damaged causing reservation wildlife to lose food resources.’ The range units are used by local cattleman (tribal and non-tribal) for grazing. The Land Use Policy Commission, the Range Program and BIA will be sending out letters to the permittees of these grazing changes.

The Tribes Natural Resource departments, along with the Land Use Policy Commissioners, BIA and BIA Irrigation (Drought Contingency Committee) have met numerous times and are in full support of the drought emergency and state “it is in the best interest of the Tribes to take action now to protect the natural resources in the range areas and Fort Hall Bottoms area.” According to a memo issued by the Land Use office, the Drought Contingency Committee meet every two weeks to monitor the drought situation and update the FHBC on progress and recommendations.

The following immediate emergency measures are in full effect to protect natural resources habitat and water resources on the Fort Hall Reservation:

1. That no cattle will be allowed in the bottoms, earlier than, September 15, 2021;

2. That if a sufficient supply of surface water is available on Tribal or allotted land(s), that users will be instructed to use only surface water instead of the combination of groundwater and surface water supplies;

3.  That farmers not allow their irrigation systems to water the roadways and minimize watering of non-farmed areas; and

4. That practical irrigation restrictions will be enforced and shut-off dates for all irrigation, surface and ground water, will coincide with the BIA FHIP’s operations shut-off date which will be dependent on the dynamics of the weather; and  

5. The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes’ Land Use Department is authorized to remove cattle from range units at their discretion when appropriate to protect the land, wildlife, and resources of the Tribes.

Any questions pertaining to the emergency drought contact the Land Use office at 208-478-3823. A new webpage will be created on the Tribes official website to post current information on the drought. We will announce the new webpage on the Tribes Facebook page, search shoban tribes.