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St. Mary Canal system near Babb suffers a big leak

| June 19, 2024 7:50 AM

Hungry Horse News

The St. Mary Canal at Babb suffered a major leak Monday at its siphon, flooding some structures and businesses nearby.

No one was injured but video on social media Monday showed water coursing down the hillside and inundating structures.

The town of Babb is just outside the Many Glacier Entrance to the park. The leak did not impact the town itself.’

The canal was shut down prior to the leak, but the hillside above the leak, Hook’s-Hideaway-Bar, hotel and roping arena all look to have flooded according to a video posted on the Glacier Country Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Facebook page.

The St. Mary Canal diverts water from the St. Mary River into the North Fork Milk River to increase downstream flows, particularly during the late summer months.

Montana Sen. Jon Tester recently announced that more than $88 million had been allocated to replace the St. Mary River Dam under a provision he inserted into the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The contract was awarded to NW Construction, Inc. of Bozeman earlier this month.

The water has its roots in the mountains of Glacier National Park and is captured in both upper and lower St. Mary Lakes and the Sherburne Dam just outside of Many Glacier.

It is a critical source of irrigation and drinking water for communities in both Canada and the United States. The Milk River flows into Canada and then back into the U.S. at Havre and then eventually into the Missouri River.