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Montana Aesthetic Resource Assessment (17-MT-a)

Montana has several statutes and zoning regulations intended to protect its streams and rivers. The general intent of the preservation policy is predominantly protection of the waters' aesthetic value. Along with protecting the aesthetic value, the policies protect water quality and fish habitat. An additional benefit of the policy is minimization of sedimentation.

Aesthetic Resource Assessment Process

17-MT-a.1 - Will the project affect the natural existing shape and form of any stream or its banks or tributaries

Montana has a policy to preserve fish and wildlife habitat as well as maintain Montana's streams and rivers in their natural or existing state. Under the Montana Stream Protection Act, state entities (agency of state government, county, municipality, etc) may not construct any project that may impact the natural existing shape and form of any stream or its banks without first submitting an application for a permit. Although the act only applies to state governmental agencies, certain federal agencies comply through memorandum of understanding or other agreement.

17-MT-a.2 - Montana Stream Protection Act (SPA 124 Permit)

Montana Stream Protection Act (SPA 124 Permit):

17-MT-a.3 - Will the project be near a stream

The purpose of the Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act is to preserve Montana's streams and rivers in their "natural or existing state and to prohibit unauthorized projects." The act is also intended to aid in minimizing soil erosion and sedimentation. Local conservation districts review 310 Permits.

17-MT-a.4 - Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act (310 Permit)

Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act (310 Permit):

17-MT-a.5 - Will the project require clearing timber within 50 feet of any body of water

A permit is required for commercial forest practices. The purpose of the permitting process is to protect Montana's forest waters and to conserve streamside zones. Several activities are identified as requiring a permit:

  • broadcast burning;
  • operating wheeled or tracked vehicles except on established roads;
  • clear cutting;
  • constructing roads in the Streamside Management Zone except when necessary to cross a stream or wetland;
  • handling, storing, applying or disposing of hazardous or toxic material in a manner that pollutes streams, lakes or wetlands or that may cause damage or injury to humans, land, animals or plants;
  • casting road material into a stream, wetland or watercourse; and
  • depositing slash in streams or other water bodies.

17-MT-a.6 - Montana Streamside Management Zone Law

Streamside Management Zone Law:

17-MT-a.7 - Will the project exceed local noise ordinance levels

Local county and municipal ordinances address industrial noise in order to protect the health and welfare of surrounding areas.

17-MT-a.8 - County Permitting

One must reference county and municipal zoning restrictions in order to ensure that the project is in compliance of noise restrictions.

17-MT-a.9 - No permit needed; continue with project

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