Fort Belknap Addresses Water Quality

Nov 15th, 1997 | By | Category: 9-3: Responsible Welfare Reform, Tribal College News

Fort Belknap participants include top row, left to right: Dan Kinsey, Dr. Liz McClain, and Katherine Halver. Second row: Blake Stiffarm, Dennis Longknife, and Kenneth "Gus" Helegesen. Front row: Scott Friskics, Clarena M. Werk, and Ina Nez Perce.

Residents of the Fort Belknap Reservation can now look forward to a healthier level of water quality monitoring, thanks to a grant received by Fort Belknap College (Harlem, Mont.). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently approved a two-year Community-University Partnership grant of $250,000. The project will enable the Fort Belknap community to address environmental justice, water quality concerns on the southern end of the reservation in a more informed and effective manner.

The primary objectives of the grant are to: 1) develop and enhance local water quality monitoring capabilities; 2) establish a Water Quality Resource Center, which will serve as a clearinghouse for data collection; 3) provide training in water quality monitoring methods and water quality issues to the Fort Belknap community; 4) increase community awareness of and participation in potential environmental and human health impacts of water quality degradation.

Scott Friskics, Fort Belknap College natural resources instructor, will direct the project, which will be housed at Fort Belknap College and will include lab facilities. Two Fort Belknap College graduates who went on to complete their bachelor’s degrees, Dennis Longknife and Dan Kinsey, will also participate in the program. Fort Belknap College collaborated with the Fort Belknap Community Council, the Tribal EPA office, and Island Mountain Protectors to develop the proposal.

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