1997 Legend

Marvin Miller

The Water Legend Award honors a dedicated individual who, through
time, dedication and hard work, has significantly contributed
to water resource activities in Montana. Marvin Miller is the
year 1997 awardee.

(The following was transcribed from a videotape. Unfortunately, some comments were lost.)

Introduction — Dorothy Bradley, Director Montana Water Center 1993-1999

I am really pleased to have the opportunity to say a word about our 1997 Water Legend, Marvin Miller. To know him is to respect him and I am really proud of the fact that he is one of the Associate Directors of the Water Center, one of the things that makes our work so cohesive, productive and enjoyable.

I always wanted to know a little about his background. Marv grew up in rural Wyoming and Montana with all the expected backdrops, milking cows, 4H, etc. He spent the longest time in the Big Timber area. Marv’s mother was a teacher. There were three children in the family. He loved water as a child. When Marv was a senior in high school at Big Timber, the school required him to do the obvious essay. Every day in study hall, he went through the encyclopedia to get ideas. He ended up giving a paper on geology. That sounded kind of nice.

When he got out of college, he applied for different jobs in Geology and Hydrogeology and on his application he put that each of these was his favorite job. The University of Indiana summer camp offered him a job as a field teaching assistantship at their Geology camp on South Boulder River. That was in 1967 which makes this his 30th celebration.

I asked Marv what his favorite job was in the 30 years and it was no surprise that he said it was the years in Saline Seep.


Summer fallowing is the biggest culprits water was seeping through the fallow and collecting under the surface and mixing with the salts and appearing on the surface as saline seep.

Can 3 to 5 months of rain in 2 years produce 3 feet of water? It just won’t happen.


They have reclaimed more than 50,000 acres of saline seep using alfalfa and other deep-rooted plants. It is also interesting that other prairie states have adopted this practice from Montana.

———— He is different from most government people. Marv is a great communication person. Someone asked me how Marv was able to work with bull headed farmers and maybe even bull headed legislators. He knows how to get things done by walking around. He knows all of the parties involved, he knows what issues they are working on, what rooms they are working in, what money they have to work with and he knows what the sources of the money is. And when you put all these things together, and answer questions to make things better.——-

Marv was the only speaker from Montana at a World Conference about Saline Seep.


We are here to honor, revere and roast Marv Miller. You are truly an inspiration, a friend, colleague, community leader and lover of fellow man. Now isn’t he great?


Vivian Drak, AWRA-MT V. P. presented the award to Marv. He responded with a few words of thanks.