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Montana Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act (310 Permit) (17-MT-c)

Any private, nongovernmental individual or entity that proposes to work in or near a stream on public or private land must apply for a 310 Permit. Activities that require the permit include any activity that physically alters or modifies the bed or banks of a perennially flowing 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.

A developer planning a project must contact the conservation district office to obtain a permit application prior to any activity in or near a perennial-flowing stream.

Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act (310 Permit) Process

17-MT-c.1 - Application for 310 Permit

An application for a 310 Permit may be filed individually or jointly under the Joint Application for Proposed Work in Montana's Streams, Wetlands, Floodplains and Other Water Bodies. There is no fee for the 310 Permit application.

17-MT-c.2 - Review application

The Board of Supervisors of local conservation districts review the applications. The Montana Association of Conservation Districts is a sound resource to locate conservation districts. The review process will vary based on the locality.

Notices of proposed project must be submitted on the joint application for proposed work on streams to the conservation district in which the activity will take place. The conservation district may reject applications that are not complete.

(310 Permit Tips)

17-MT-c.3 - Conduct on site inspection

Upon acceptance of permit application, the district will notify the applicant if an inspection of the proposed project site will be conducted. As the applicant, the developer (or the developer's representative) is entitled to be a team member for the purposes of making recommendations to the district. Other team members include a Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks representative and a conservation district representative. Team members may waive participation in the on-site inspection. If no inspection is conducted, the district may proceed with the application and the applicant will be notified of their decision.

(310 Permit Tips)

17-MT-c.4 - Make recommendations to conservation district board

After an inspection is conducted, team members make recommendations to the district. The applicant can waive participation, submit this form jointly with other team members (if in agreement with their recommendations), or submit a separate form. The board must make a determination within 60 days of the filing of the application.

(310 Permit Tips)

17-MT-c.5 - 310 Permit

Applications will be reviewed to determine if the project will be accomplished by reasonable means using the following criteria:

  1. The effects of soil erosion and sedimentation, considering the methods available to complete the project and the nature and economics of the various alternatives;
  2. the effects of stream channel alteration;
  3. the effects on streamflow, turbidity, and water quality caused by materials used or by removal of ground cover;
  4. the effects on fish and aquatic habitat;
  5. whether there are modifications or alternative solutions that are reasonably practical that would reduce the disturbance to the stream and its environment and better accomplish the purpose of the proposed project;
  6. whether the proposed project will create harmful flooding or erosion problems upstream or downstream.

The district will make their decision to approve, modify, or deny the project within 60 days of acceptance of your application. However, this time period can be extended if the district determines it necessary to collect further information. After you receive the supervisors' decision, you have 15 days to return the permit, signed to indicate your intent to proceed. Unless otherwise stated on the supervisors' decision form, you must wait 15 days before proceeding with your project.

(310 Permit Tips)

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