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Potential Permits Required


Wading through the permitting system can be difficult and confusing due to the number of agencies that have permitting authority. To make applying for a permit easier, agencies responsible for some of the permits listed below cooperatively developed a single application form that can be used when applying.  The form can be obtained by contacting any of the agencies indicated as a participant or by downloading the form at

When designing your project, keep in mind the following tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Permit review can take from 30-120 days or more if an application is not complete. Contact all potential permitting agencies early in your planning process. All necessary permits must be obtained prior to beginning work.
  2. Submit a complete application. Consider the potential impacts of your project such as temporary increases in turbidity, erosion, fisheries, and aquatic life impacts due to timing of projects, etc. and include in your application how impacts will be minimized
  3. Leave as much streamside vegetation as possible. Streamside vegetation is important to health and stability of a stream. Vegetation should be removed only to the extent necessary to construct the project. Plan to revegetate the area as soon as possible to avoid erosion and prevent weed infestations.
  4. Get professional assistance, if necessary, for designing and constructing your project in conformity with the natural function of the stream or river.  Engineering designs may be required, especially for large projects or projects that have the potential for impacts.
  5. Consider bio-engineering methods, where appropriate, to minimize project impacts.
  6. Avoid projects that permanently prevent fish passage.
  7. Agencies may approve permit applications contingent upon modifications and may change the timing of the project to minimize impacts.

List of potential permits required:

  • Montana  Streambed  and  Land  Preservation  Act  (310  Permit)
  • Short-Term  Turbidity  (318  Permit)
  • Federal  Clean  Water  Act  (404  Permit)
  • Floodplain  Development  Permit
  • Fish  Stocking  Permit
  • Water  Rights  Permitting
  • Montana  Point  Discharge  Elimination  System  (MPDES)  Stormwater  Permit
  • Montana  Land-use  License  or  Easement  on  Navigable  Waters
  • State  Streamside  Management  Zone  Law  (SMZ)
  • Montana  Stream  Protection  Act  (124  Permit)
  • Section  10  Rivers  and  Harbors  Act

These permits have similar information requirements.  Fees vary depending on the permit and agency.  An electronic version of the joint permit application is available online from most agencies. Depending on the location and size of project, both 404 permitting and floodplain permitting can be especially challenging. Detailed information on individual permits is found in:  A Guide to Stream Permitting in Montana’ – available online at

Potential Permits Required
1. Tribal Aquatics Permit
2. Section 10 Rivers and Harbors Act
3. Streamside Management Zone Law (SMZ)
4. Montana Land-use License or Easement on Navigable Water
5. Montana Point Discharge Elimination System (MPDES) Stormwater Permit
6. Water Rights Permitting
7. Fish Stocking Permit
8. Montana Floodplain and Floodway Management Act (Floodplain Development Permit)
9. Federal Clean Water Act (404 Act)
10. Short-term Turbidity (318 Permit)
11. Montana Streambed and Land Preservation Act (310 Permit)
12. Potential Permits Required
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