BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) -- The state Department of Natural Resources and Conservation is backing off on a plan to increase the storage capacity of Ruby Reservoir, saying the project wouldn't be a prudent use of state funds.

The DNRC is making between $6 million and $7 million in repairs to the dilapidated spillway on Ruby Dam. Another $2.5 million was to be spent obtaining water rights and compensating landowners for property that would be submerged if the height of the reservoir was increased by 7 feet.

The project was touted as a unique partnership between farmers and ranchers, who use water for irrigation, and angling groups wanting more water available to keep the Jefferson River running in late summer. Some lakeside landowners, including talk show host David Letterman, opposed the project.

Director Mary Sexton says the decision to put the project on hold was purely financial.

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Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle, http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com

Copyright 2010 The AP.

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