Kerr Dam

UM Hosts Indian Law Week

Apr 8, 2016

The University of Montana’s law school will look at the issue of cannabis in Indian country next week. It’s part of the school’s annual "Indian Law Week."

The dam power generation plant as seen from down river. CSKT paid $18.3 million for Séliš Ksanka QÍispé, formerly known as Salish Kootenai Dam and Kerr Dam, located about five miles southwest of Polson.
Corin Cates-Carney

The tribal corporation that took ownership of Kerr Dam (now called Séliš Ksanka QÍispé) just over a month ago hosted an open house explaining the change in ownership.

When Energy Keepers Incorporated of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes took over the dam in early September it became the first major hydroelectric generation facility owned by native tribes. That raised interest from politicians and policy influencers around the state. About a dozen showed up at the dam Wednesday for a tour.

William Neuheisel

Flathead Lake is a good two feet below full pool following this particularly dry spring in northwest Montana. Northwestern Energy, which manages Kerr Dam, has notified tribal and federal agencies that water levels are low which could affect outflows this summer. Kerr produces power, regulates the lake's water levels and several reservoirs.

Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes

$18.3 million dollars - that's the price an arbitration panel has set for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes to buy Kerr Dam near Polson from PPL Montana. It's a price close to what the tribes think is fair, and well below what PPL was asking.
    The panel's decision paves the way for the Salish and Kootenai to become the first tribe in the country to own a major hydroelectric facility. Brian Lipscomb is CEO of Energy Keepers - the tribal corporation involved in the dam negotiation and eventual operation. 

photo courtesy Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes

If all goes as planned, in September 2015, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes will be the first tribes in the country to own a major hydroelectric facility.