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Stream Permitting

Montana’s Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act, also known as the 310 Law, is a state law which requires that any person planning to work in or near a perennial stream or river on private or public land must first obtain a 310 Permit from their local conservation district.

What is the Purpose of the 310 Law?

The purpose of the 310 Law is to insure that projects on perennial streams will be carried out in ways that are not damaging to the stream, its banks, or to adjoining landowners.

Who Administers the 310 Law?

Conservation District throughout Montana administer the 310 Law.  The Big Horn Conservation District administers the 310 law in Big Horn County.

Who Needs to Complete an Application?

Any private, nongovernmental individual or entity that proposes to work in or near a stream on public or private land in the Big Horn County must contact the Big Horn Conservation District to obtain a permit application prior to any activity in or near a perennial-flowing stream.

How Do I Apply for a 310 Permit?

Applications can be picked up in the district office or downloaded on our 310 Permit page linked below.  Please submit your application to the district by the last Thursday of the month to be considered for the next month’s regular meeting agenda.  For questions, contact the Big Horn Conservation District by calling (406) 629-3229, emailing, or stopping in the office at 724 West 3rd Street, Hardin, MT.

How Long Does the Permit Process Take?

The permitting process takes between 30 and 90 days.  Once approved, a 310 permit is valid for one year.  Permits decisions are made by the Big Horn Conservation District Board of Supervisors during the regular monthly meetings, which occur on the first Thursday of each month.

Applications much be submitted to the Big Horn Conservation District by the last Thursday of the month to reviewed at the next regular meeting.

Once submitted, the board will review your application and decide to accept the project or not.

Once an application is accepted, a team that consists of a Big Horn Conservation District representative; a Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologist; and the applicant may conduct an on-site inspection.  The team makes recommendations to the conservation district board to be reviewed at the next regular meeting.

The district will decide at the next meeting whether to approve, modify, or deny the project.  After receiving the supervisors’ decision, the applicant has 15 days to return the permit, signed to indicate agreement with the district’s decision.

What if I have an Emergency?

There is an emergency provision in the 310 law to handle actions necessary to safeguard life or property, including growing crops, during periods of emergency.  If a person takes an emergency action, a Notice of Emergency Form 257 must be completed and submitted to the Big Horn Conservation District within 15 days of action taken.  The emergency action will be reviewed by the conservation district.  The district will decide whether the action was appropriate, must be modified, or must be removed and/or replaced.