The Snake River Basin Adjudication (“SRBA”) was a large-scale administrative and legal process within the Snake River Basin that commenced in 1987. An “adjudication” is a court action that inventories existing water rights. Ultimately, the court issues decrees that confirm and define the elements of each water right. As the Nez Perce Tribe (“Tribe”)’s Usual and Accustomed Area included the Snake River Basin, the Tribe was a major participant in the adjudication and submitted claims for springs, minimum instream flow, and domestic-commercial-municipal-industrial (“DCMI”) water rights.
The SRBA Nez Perce Tribal Component (“SRBA Agreement”) included three main tiers of water rights. First, 205 minimum instream flow water rights were decreed in the Clearwater, Salmon, and Snake River Basins to provide critical habitat for Treaty-reserved resources like ESA-listed steelhead and salmon fish species. Second, water rights totaling 50,000 acre-feet per year within the Clearwater River Basin were decreed for the Tribe’s on-reservation, consumptive use for purposes consistent with the Tribal Water Code at the discretion of the Tribe. Lastly, up to half of the natural flow of springs on federal land was reserved for the Tribe’s cultural and ceremonial uses. Please refer to the Mediator’s Term Sheet for other components of the SRBA Nez Perce Tribal Agreement.
On December 16, 2020, the Nez Perce Tribal Water Rights Administration Code (“Tribal Water Code”) was approved by the United States Department of the Interior. The purposes of the Tribal Water Code are 1) to provide an orderly system for the protection, allocation, regulation, and use of Tribal water rights consistent with the needs of organisms, natural resources, and cultural resources, 2) to carry out the SRBA Agreement and Snake River Water Rights Acts of 2004, and 3) to ensure that the rights of Allottees to the use of water in quantities necessary to carry out the purposes of a trust allotment. To meet these objectives, the Tribe’s Water Rights Administration Program seeks to quantify surface water and groundwater resources, inventories and issues permits for Tribal water uses, and assesses precious water resources for over-allocation.
Any applicant, or any objector, including the Nez Perce Tribe or any department or agency, not satisfied with the issuance or non-issuance of a Water Use Permit shall request a hearing before the Nez Perce Tribal Water Rights Administration Commission and submit a filing fee within 20 calendar days of the closing period of public notice of issuance of the Water Use Permit.
Please contact Nez Perce Tribe Water Resources Division for further information or questions.
Use this form to notify Nez Perce Tribe’s Water Resources Division of changes to your mailing address, email, or telephone number.
Use this form to notify Nez Perce Tribe’s Water Resources Division of a change in ownership for a Water Use Permit.
Use this form to apply for a new Water Use Permit to use Tribal water rights.
Note that the permitting process from filing an application to receiving a permit to use Tribal water rights can take a substantial amount of time. Please plan accordingly.
Use this form to request an Appeal with the Nez Perce Tribal Court of Appeals to protest any final decisions or rulings of the Nez Perce Tribal Water Rights Administration Commission. RETURN THIS FORM DIRECTLY TO THE NEZ PERCE TRIBAL COURT OF APPEALS