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1.     Is the stream NATURAL?

  • Is there a natural source of water (e.g., springs, seeps, or runoff)? (Must answer YES)
  • Is the water collecting in a channel that generally follows natural drainage patterns (i.e., flows in troughs that generally go perpendicular to the contour lines of a topographical map or survey)? (Likely characteristic, but not necessary)
  • Does it show up as a “Natural Carrier” in the 1953 Water Resources Survey? (Supporting material)
  • Do historical aerial photos indicate the presence of a channel or saturated soil? (Supporting material)
  1. Is the stream PERENNIAL?
  • Does the stream flow continuously at all seasons of the year, except in the case of appropriation, impoundment, or extreme drought? (Must answer YES)
  • If the stream carries diverted water, would it flow continuously without that diverted water (e.g., is there perennial flow above the diversion, or perennially flowing springs along the stream route)? (Must answer YES)
  • Is it considered perennial on ancillary mapping sources (USGS topos, Forest Service maps, etc.)? (Supporting material)
  1. Does the stream have a defined CHANNEL (area from mean high water mark on one bank to mean high water mark on the opposite bank)?
  • Has the flow of water caused physical characteristics that distinguish the channel from the area above it? (Must answer YES)
  • Is the channel devoid of terrestrial (not hydrophilic) vegetation? (Must answer YES)
  • Is the channel devoid of agricultural value? (Must answer YES)

Conservation Districts are the only entity in Montana that determines jurisdiction for 310 permitting.


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