State Mandated Permitting

Any work which directly affects a stream requires a permit. The permitting process can seem like a daunting task however, the Lewis & Clark Conservation District is here to set you up for success as well as to protect Montana’s lakes, creeks, and streams.  If you are interested in better understanding the permitting process , the DNRC with the help of many organizations, including the CD, has compiled a Stream Permitting Book to assist and advise for a better understanding of streams and best management practices when working on or near streams.  If you have any further questions or if you are ready to get your project underway please contact the Lewis and Clark Conservation District.  If you do not obtain a permit you are subject to fines and will likely be required to complete mitigative work to repair–sometimes at significant cost–the work done without a permit or beyond the scope of your permit.

The Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act–“310 Law”

The 1975 State Law requires Conservation Districts to review and oversee projects in and around the perennial streams in each of their areas.  In Lewis & Clark Conservation District, the Board recognizes the changing nature of waterways and how drought and flood years, as wells as die-off of forests, can change the perennial nature of streams.  The maxim we use is “when in doubt, fill it out!” referring to the permit applications.  There is no cost for a 310 permit from Lewis & Clark Conservation District.

A word of caution:  Beaver dam removal IS considered a 310 project by Lewis & Clark Conservation District and DOES require a permit.  In addition, for ANY project, you must have permission from the landowner(s) even if you have an easement.


Instructions  (It is highly recommended that all applicants read this file!)


For a fillable form

Complaint Form

Emergency Notice

For more information see the rules or give us a call or email the district. The Lewis & Clark Conservation District has permitting jurisdiction on Canyon Ferry Reservoir, Hauser Reservoir and Holter Reservoir, since they are in the Missouri River and are considered “run of the river”.

Rules for Permitting–310 Rules 2019–The Board of Supervisors met in November 2019 to revise their rules for permitting taking in to account recommended changes from the Fish Wildlife and Parks and incorporating previously used guidelines for Reservoir Permitting.  Rules 24 and 25 contain the changes to our rules.

Photo By- Ashley Rivero
Photo By- Ashley Rivero

Please Note:  Permits generally take 30-45 days to process and applications should be submitted to the Conservation District at least one week prior to the next board meeting to be reviewed.  Submitting the application prior to a board meeting is NO GUARANTEE that it will be acted upon at the next meeting since site inspections may need to take place prior to a board decision.

310 Complaint form:  Quite often people in the community notice work being done on a stream and they aren’t sure if there is a permit issued or not.  Please call the District Office at 449-5000 ext. 5 to find out. 

If you wish to file a complaint, you may have us mail or email the form or you may download the form and return it to us. 

Please remember that under State Law, all of the Conservation District’s files are open to the public except for any in an ongoing legal dispute.  Please be aware of this when submitting complaints.  

The location of potential unpermitted activity and the name of the person doing the work is particularly helpful, as is any contact information.  If all you see is a contractor name on the side of a truck or excavator, even that is very helpful. 

Submitting photos along with complaints is always helpful.

Emergency:  Emergencies often occur during spring run-off, or other flooding events, as well as during extended drought.  Under the 310 law, a landowner may conduct the work that needs to be done to safeguard life, property or crops.  Within 15 days of conducting that work, the landowner needs to fill out and submit to the District, an Emergency Notice.  The District Office can mail or email the form, or you may download it and return it to the District.  Submitting photos with emergency notices is always helpful.

Please keep in mind that if the District finds that work done was NOT an emergency it may be considered a violation under state law.  Even if work done was a true emergency, additional work may be required to further remedy the problem and it may be necessary for the landowner to obtain a 310 Permit to conduct that work.

Information on Stream Management