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Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Reservation - 2011 Project

Project Overview
Tribe/Awardee: Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Confederated Tribes of the Flathead Reservation
Location: Ronan, MT
Project Title: Feasibility Study to Identify Potential Reductions in Energy Use in Tribal Buildings
Type of Application: Feasibility
DOE Grant Number: DE-EE0005171
Project Amounts:
DOE: $278,224
Awardee: $0
Total: $278,224
Project Status: See project status
Project Period
of Performance:
Start: September 2011
End: December 2013


Under this project, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) will assess the technical and economic feasibility of energy efficiency improvements to existing tribally owned buildings. The feasibility study will follow a systematic approach in identifying, selecting, and ranking recommended measures, recognizing that the appropriateness of a measure will depend not only on technical issues but also on institutional and organizational issues, such as financing options and occupant requirements. 

The completed study will provide the tribes with all the information needed to commit necessary resources to reduce the energy use and cost in approximately 40 tribal buildings, including the changes that may be needed in each facility's operation and maintenance and personnel requirements. It will also present an economic analysis of energy efficiency capital improvements and an annotated list of financing options and possible funding sources for implementation and an overall strategy for implementation.

Project Description


The Flathead Indian Reservation, homeland of the CSKT, was established by the Hellgate Treaty of 1855. The reservation comprises 1.3 million acres or 2,050 square miles located in the Upper Columbia River Basin. The tribal headquarters are in Pablo, Montana. 
CSKT was the first Indian tribal government to adopt a federally approved constitution pursuant to the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934. Since 1935, CSKT has been governed by an elected Tribal Council. Ten representatives from 8 districts throughout the reservation comprise the Tribal Council. 
CSKT is a progressive and successful Self-Governance Tribe under the Indian Self-Determination and Educational Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638), as evidenced by this partial list of programs administered and operated by CSKT on the Flathead Indian Reservation pursuant to compacts and contracts with the U.S. government:

  • Mission Valley Power, a federally owned electrical-distribution utility on the Flathead Indian Reservation

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs' (BIA) federal trust land-management functions, including the Flathead Reservation Title and Records Office

  • BIA's Safety of Dams (SOD) program

  • BIA's forest management activities, including administration of fire presuppression and suppression activities through other tiered agreements (e.g., agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for fire protection at the National Bison Range, a unit within the National Wildlife Refuge System that is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation)

  • Individual Indian Monies (IIM) program

In addition to the above-listed areas, CSKT compacts for all other available Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) programs, including law enforcement, tribal courts, education programs, etc. Its tribal government infrastructure and staff are well equipped to administer these programs, and they are very experienced in federal contracting requirements. The tribe's Natural Resources Department alone has well over 100 employees, including biologists, botanists, hydrologists, wildlife technicians, etc.

At present, the tribal government administers approximately $25 to $30 million in self-governance funds, $85 to $150 million in contracts and grants, and $25 million in tribal revenue. The tribal government has 1,000 full-time employees (approximately 900 of which are tribal members) and up to 500 temporary employees, making CSKT the largest employer on the reservation and one of the largest in western Montana. CSKT contributes over $30 million in payroll and over $50 million in purchasing to the local economy. A recent report funded by the State of Montana showed that the CSKT and their ancillary entities contribute $317 million to the Montana economy annually.

Project Objectives

The objective of this proposed project is to: (1) identify and develop modifications and measures that will reduce the energy use and/or cost of operating approximately 40 tribal buildings, and (2) present the results in sufficient detail and in a format and order of priority that will allow the tribes to judge the technical and economic feasibility of the recommended energy efficiency measures and to decide if any, some, or all of the recommended modifications should be implemented. This will involve:

  • Conducting a comprehensive (Level III ASHRAE†) audit of tribal buildings in which energy use (based on preliminary projections) could be reduced by at least a 30% through the implementation of energy efficiency measures (a comprehensive audit will evaluate all cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities, including lighting, HVAC, controls, domestic hot water, building envelope (including insulation and infiltration and health and safety measures), and maintenance/operation opportunities)

  • Identifying the measures that are both technically and economically feasible

  • Evaluating those feasible energy efficiency improvements and establishing an order or hierarchy for implementation to: (a) ensure that interactive effects among projects are considered so that savings are not double counted, and (b) ensure that basic energy efficiency measures are considered before implementing more complex and expensive measures

  • Identifying financing options for implementation of identified energy efficiency measures

  • Developing a plan for implementation.

This project, aimed at providing the information necessary for the tribes to undertake significant energy—efficiency improvements in tribal buildings, will help the CSKT meet a major objective of its Flathead Reservation Comprehensive Resources Plan: to pursue energy conservation measures for all future construction projects and existing tribal facilities. The CSKT reaffirmed that objective in May 2010, when it created a Tribal Department of Energy (TDOE), which has as part of its mission the goal of promoting energy conservation measures for all tribal departments and agencies.  To ensure a comprehensive and coordinated tribal governmental approach for this and other energy goals of the TDOE, the Tribal Council established by resolution (Number 11-05) an Energy Team consisting of the Tribal Council and key staff across the tribal government. These measures are designed to help the tribes achieve their vision of providing energy security through reliable, clean, and affordable energy while protecting traditional cultural resources.  This in turn will help the tribes meet the broader vision of building a more sustainable society and restoring a sustainable environment.

Project Scope

CSKT's Facilities Manager, working in coordination with MVP Conservation Coordinator and TDOE's Director, will prepare a request for proposals (RFP) and scope of work to select the subcontractor. The RFP will identify all significant evaluation factors (such as contractor experience, company organization, personnel qualifications, proposed approach, conflict of interest, references and examples of past audits conducted, as well as price and cost). Proposals will be solicited from qualified sources, and the tribes will provide mechanisms for technical evaluation of the proposals received and conduct interviews with prospective contractors. 

Once the contractor is selected and hired, the Facilities Manager and his staff will provide any additional technical information about the buildings the subcontractor may require and accompany the subcontractor during all energy audits. He and his staff will provide additional information as requested and assist the subcontractor in: (1) identifying energy efficiency measures that are technically and economically feasible; (2) evaluating feasible measures; (3) establishing an order or hierarchy for implementation; (4) co-presenting the technical analysis to the tribes' Energy Team and Tribal Council; and (5) identifying financing options for implementation. The Facilities Manager will then work with the Director of the TDOE and the CSKT Administrative Director to develop a plan for implementation.

Project Location

The Flathead Indian Reservation, comprising over 1.2 million acres, is home to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The tribes are a combination of the Salish, the Pend d'Oreille and the Kootenai. Of the 7,005 enrolled tribal members, about 4,500 live on or near the reservation. North of Interstate 90 between Missoula and Kalispell, the fertile valleys and towering mountain peaks of northwestern Montana surround the Flathead Reservation.

Project Status

The project was competitively selected under the Tribal Energy Program's fiscal year 2010 funding opportunity announcement, "Energy Efficiency Development and Deployment in Indian Country" (DE-FOA-0000423) and started 9/30/11.

The November 2011, November 2012, and March 2014 project status reports provide more information.

For current project status or additional information, please contact the project contacts.

Project Contact

Lisa Shourds
Contract Specialist - CSKT
406-675-2700 x 1138
42487 Complex Blvd.
Pablo, MT 59855

Willie Stevens
Facilities Manager
406-675-2700 ext. 1055
42487 Complex Blvd.
Pablo, MT 59855