News From the Front, February 17

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”

According to the internet, “Marcus Aurelius, or Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (121 AD – 180 AD), was the Roman emperor from 161-180 AD. He is considered the last of the Five Good Emperors. Incredibly enough, he was also among the foremost Stoic philosophers of his time – as is evident from his tome Meditations, written entirely in Greek while the emperor was conducting his military campaign.”

The week according to Jeff…

Dear Readers:

I am tempted to write this in Greek, as it sometimes seems we are conducting a military campaign with all these bills flying around. However, I did not pay attention in those classes at the seminary. I am thinking that Marcus Aurelius was not referring to all reality in this week’s quote. The chicken did or did not lay an egg. That’s a fact – one way or the other. I suppose one could still argue the “fact” if one was not in the room (perspective) when the egg appeared.

I sometimes see his quote come to life when I listen to testimony at the Session. “These changes are needed to improve this…”  “It’s a fact that if you change this, such and such will happen…” It makes me think of Churchill’s quote on a previous News From the Front. I wonder what Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus would say about today’s fake news? Perhaps, “I told you so.”  He likely had too much class to say that. I’ll end by stating that the eyes in those Greek and Roman busts are a bit creepy.


Total number of Introduced Bills – 839

Total number of Introduced and Unintroduced Bills – 2578


Those numbers are as of Thursday. Note that things are changing so quickly that what you read here may be different than reality. I’ll do my best to catch reality next edition.

The big gossip in the hallways this week is the rumor of moving the transmittal date so it arrives sooner. That’s the date that the vast majority of bills must be heard in one house, voted on in a positive manner, and moved to the other house if they are to stay alive. Moving the date sooner would de facto eliminate many bills, as there would just not be enough time to hold all the hearings before the transmittal date. However, it’s just gossip. Gossip is what no one claims to like, but everybody enjoys.” Joseph Conrad


On 14th February the  (J) Natural Resources and Transportation Committee had a work session about AIS (Aquatic Invasive Species). The idea was to gather all the players in the same room to make sure all are facing in the same direction. This was followed by another after hours meeting in the Capitol to continue the discussion. MACD was present at both. Montana Fish. Wildlife and Parks is opening a major undertaking with new staff being recruited for this effort. There are many balls in the air during this Session about the best way to go after AIS, and the discussion is continuing in the hallways and in meetings about how Montana is going to proceed. I’ve sensed apprehension, resignation, and a touch of fear from those involved with AIS, as this issue could change many water related activities, from irrigation to hydropower to recreation. This is a major statewide undertaking that includes millions and millions of dollars with potential serious consequences. Lots of coordination is needed. Conservation Districts are mentioned as part of the solution. We don’t know exactly what that will look like right now. One hint may be the email request that DNRC sent to Conservation Districts about possible roles, and your response to DNRC.  


There has been no action on HB 344. However, I did hear a Legislator in the hallways ask if the CBM wells qualify as orphan mines, wondering if funds were available from that source to address issues that the Coal Bed Methane Committee is involved with. We were told that it’ll be very, very difficult to assign General Fund dollars for this bill. We will continue watching to see how this unfolds. HISTORY: HB 344 is the number for the bill that would provide $190,000 of general fund dollars for the Coal Bed Methane Program over the next biennium, entitled: Revise funding for coal bed methane protection program. This bill is in direct response to the MACD resolution of the same topic. It was heard in front of the House Natural Resources Committee on Monday, 6th January. The Coal Bed Methane Protection Committee sent Don Sasse to testify on their behalf. MACD testified in support of this bill.  DNRC testified as an informational witness, no doubt because the funds requested in the bill are not in the Governor’s budget. There were many questions from the committee about the program. There were no opponents, but there were a few negative comments from members of the audience afterwards about our testimony.


HBs 6, 7, & 14 were referred to the full appropriations committee for their consideration. This committee has the intention of changing a significant fiscal approach proposed by the Executive. The Executive proposed to “swipe” or move a number of funding sources into the general fund, then fund programs previously funded by those sources with general fund dollars, but at a lesser amount. This includes funds associated with Conservation Districts. This will set the stage for a bit of a showdown between the two branches, but they’ll figure it out in the end. HISTORY: Executive action for HB 14, HB 6 (RRG planning grants, watershed grants, and other funding), and HB 7 (RDG planning grants and AIS funding), occurred on 9th of February. HBs 6&7 passed without amendments. HB 14 was amended, approved with one nay vote, but still has funds for five Conservation Districts (Sweet Grass, Beaverhead, Stillwater, Broadwater, and Pondera). The journey is a bit shorter to full approval, but getting these out of committee is a major step in the right direction. Note that the conflict between bonding to pay for projects and paying cash for projects is still front and center at the Legislature. That storm is still brewing and will have to be navigated to be successful.


SB 204  would move the Department of Justice Natural Resource Damage Program to Deer Lodge. MACD was asked to testify in opposition to this bill, and did so in front of the Senate Natural Resource Committee on 15th February. Conservation Districts have worked with the NRDP program over the years, including a significant project at the Bridger Plant Materials Center. We understand that there are plans underfoot to include Yellowstone Conservation District and the Yellowstone River Conservation District Council in restoration efforts regarding the oil spill from a few years ago. The Council may also be working on restoration efforts in the Glendive area regarding that oil spill. There are many signs that the NRDP will focus activities on the Eastern part of Montana in the years ahead. See:   


HB 337 is flying. It passed second reading in the House 100-0, and will move to the Senate Natural Resources Committee for consideration. HISTORY: HB 337 is a bill that would require DNRC to prepare a report in 2026 about water reservations. As you know, Conservation Districts have a number of water reservations* for both the Yellowstone and Missouri rivers. This report was prepared in 2016 by DNRC, and some of you will remember a bit of controversy that accompanied the report. Many of us will not be here for the 2026 report, but for those who plan to be please mark your calendars. Here is the meat of the requirement:  “…the department shall, at least once every 10 years, review existing state water reservations to ensure that the objectives of the reservations are being met.” May I humbly suggest that every Conservation District with a water reservation include this as a meeting topic on an annual basis? Maybe the January meeting? This bill passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee on a 15-0 vote. We predict it will be passed by both houses and be signed by the governor.


MACD listened to the hearing on HB 424. There were 8 proponents and no opponents. The House Natural Resources Committee asked many questions, including how this would work when water rights were involved. The sponsor offered an amendment to include a definition of ”source watershed.”  HB 424 would recognize source watersheds and makes them eligible for the RENEWABLE RESOURCE GRANT AND LOAN PROGRAM. It gives priority to source watersheds (as well as a few other criteria) for funding. MACD currently has no position on this bill. The committee took no action. A fiscal note has been printed, indicating that there is no impact to the State of Montana.


SR 20 is the bill to confirm John Tubbs as the Director of DNRC. MACD will be present to support Mr. Tubbs. The hearing is scheduled for 20th February.

SR 21 is the bill to confirm Tom Livers as the Director of DEQ. MACD will be present to support Mr. Livers. The hearing is scheduled for 20th February.

We do not know dates nor bills available for the directors of Fish, Wildlife and Parks or the Department of Agriculture. MACD has intentions to be at these hearings. We were told that these hearings will be near the end of the Session.


SB 48 went through the Senate twice and is on the way to the House for consideration. It left the Senate on a 39-11 vote. This bill directs DEQ to assume the 404 dredge-and-fill permitting program. Conservation Districts are still not mentioned in this bill. MACD has no position on this bill but is monitoring.  HISTORY: SB 48 had been amended and passed on a 9-2 vote out of the Senate Natural Resources Committee. The Senate debated the bill, if one could call it that, with the sponsor of the bill opening the debate, a comment from another Senator who opposed the bill, followed by the closing by the sponsor. It was very short. The bill passed 29-20, but not strictly along party lines. It was referred to Senate Finance and Claims Committee for their consideration on 9th February. Note that the original fiscal note projected the cost to be $1.6 million per year. The revised fiscal note presented to the committee was $0 for the next biennium. The Senate Finance and Claims Committee passed the bill 15-0.


HB 420 is a bill to revise allocation of oil and gas revenue for oil and natural gas impact projects. It was heard in House Taxation Committee on 15th February. It is not known how this would impact Conservation Districts, but we’re trying to find that out. We’d note that a similar bill passed last Session was vetoed by the Governor. The Executive testified in opposition to this bill at the hearing, indicating that another veto would follow should this bill proceed through the Legislature. In fact, with all due deference to Emperor Marcus, the Director of the Montana Department of Revenue read to the committee the veto letter that was issued in 2015.


HB 53 was debated on the floor of the Senate on 16th February and passed on a 49-0 vote. Soon it will be sent to the Governor’s office for consideration. HISTORY:  HB 53 previously passed the House floor on a 100-0 vote, and was referred to the Senate Natural Resources Committee. They held a hearing on 6th February and MACD and DNRC testified in support of the bill. There were no opponents and no questions from the committee. This is a clean up bill proposed by DNRC. It is “AN ACT CLARIFYING THE PROCEDURE FOR CALCULATING LEVIES FOR CONSERVATION DISTRICTS.” This bill is expected to pass both houses and be signed by the governor.


HB 83  passed out of the  (H) State Administration Committee, and cleared the floor of the House easily on a 71-25 vote. This is a clean up bill needed to address mistakes made in the 2015 Session’s giant election law revision that included Supervisor election changes. A hearing was held on Monday 30th January in (S) State Administration. MACD supported this bill. There were no opponents. The committee took no action. This bill is expected to pass both houses and be signed by the governor.


SB 39 passed out of the House Local Government Committee on a 23-0 vote, and was debated on the floor of the House on 15th February. It passed second reading on a 99-1 vote. There is one more perfunctory floor vote, then it’s off to the Governor’s office for consideration.  HISTORY:  SB 39 is a cleanup bill: “AN ACT ELIMINATING NOTICE TO AND APPROVAL OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF CONSERVATION DISTRICT ORGANIZATION” This bill flew through the Senate on a 50-0 vote and moved into the House and heard in front of the House Local Government Committee on 7th February. MACD and DNRC and the Montana Association of Counties supported this bill and there were no opponents. This bill is expected to pass both houses and be signed by the Governor.


HB 305 revises the laws related to county bounties on predators. Basically, it gives the board of county commissioners authority to determine the dollar amount of the bounty to be paid on each predatory animal, and allows the board of county commissioners to appoint bounty inspectors in addition to those provided for in 81-7-112. The bill also eliminates an older statute that placed a $100 bounty on wolves. The House Agriculture Committee hearing was on 31st January, but MACD was unable to attend. The bill passed out of committee on an 18-5 vote and passed 74-16 on the floor of the House. This bill will now move to the Senate Agriculture Committee for consideration.  I’ve included this bill in our list, as several Conservation Districts in past years have expressed interest in predators and bounties across Montana.  


HJ4 is now listed as “probably dead.” I visited with the sponsor in the hallways, and asked if he would try to revive his bill. He said that was very unlikely. HISTORY: HJ 4 was heard in front of the House Taxation Committee. This bill would require a study of the Coal Tax Trust over the interim. As you know, Conservation Districts receive funds from this account, and will want to be part of discussions if there is a study. MACD did not testify in the House but will monitor this bill to see how it progresses. On 31st January HJ4 passed out of committee on a 19-1 vote. MACD heard the 8th February debate on the floor of the House. There are concerns about the number of needs across the state and the funding currently in the Trust. The bill wants to look at ways to grow the principle in the Trust. The sponsor made a case for being thoughtful about the future of this beneficial program, and gave praise to the people who set up the Trust. Opponents said the bill opens the door to busting the Trust. The bill failed 46 yes and 54 no. The vote was not along party lines.


There has been no action regarding SB 98, previously heard in front of the (S) Judiciary Committee. This bill establishes the Montana property fairness act. Immunities or liability waivers in Conservation District laws could be impacted by this bill, and there are concerns about impacts to the 310 law. There were three proponents and eight opponents for this bill. MACD will monitor this bill, and continue to try to analyze if and how it might impact Conservation Districts. Note that this bill has a $600 million fiscal note that was contested by the sponsor.


HB 104  passed on the floor of the House 88-12 and was re-referred to the full House Appropriations Committee for a hearing. This bill was sent to Approps because it asks for money, and all those types of bills have to go through this funnel. This bill is “AN ACT CREATING THE GROUND WATER INVESTIGATION PROGRAM SPECIAL REVENUE ACCOUNT; PROVIDING A STATUTORY APPROPRIATION.” Jane Holzer is the Conservation District representative for this program. MACD President Jeff Wivholm was in town for the Meet and Greet and spoke in favor of this bill. There were no opponents. The House Appropriations Committee heard this bill and subsequently tabled it on 30th January. MACD heard that it is being held until the new revenue estimates arrive and/or if there are any revenues left to include in this program.


HB 107 passed on the floor of the House 84-16 and was re-referred to the full House Appropriations Committee for a hearing. This bill was sent to Approps because it asks for money, and all those types of bills have to go through this funnel. This bill is “AN ACT CREATING A SURFACE WATER ASSESSMENT AND MONITORING PROGRAM; PROVIDING FOR A SURFACE WATER ASSESSMENT AND MONITORING PROGRAM SPECIAL REVENUE ACCOUNT; PROVIDING PROGRAM DUTIES; PROVIDING A STATUTORY APPROPRIATION.”  MACD lobbied successfully earlier this year at the interim committee meetings to include a Conservation District representative on the steering committee of this program. If this bill passes, Conservation Districts will be asked to participate on the steering committee, and it’s not too early to start thinking about a name. MACD President Jeff Wivholm was in town for the Meet and Greet and spoke in favor of HB 107. There were no opponents. UPDATE: The House Appropriations Committee heard this bill and subsequently tabled it on 30th January. MACD heard that it is being held until the new revenue estimates arrive and/or if there are any revenues left to include in this program.  


NB: We’ve heard some fretting from Legislators about how the bills are proceeding this Session. HBs 104 and 107 fit into this easily. Members are observing that the various smaller committees that make up the preponderance of bill reviewers are helping to set policy by approving or not approving bills. They see their role as making the policies that will guide state government over the next two years. If the bills are then approved on the floor of either house, they sometimes are sent to the Appropriations or Finance committees because the bill requests funds. The issue is a question – Should policy drive money, or should money drive policy? This is a question that plagues every Legislature. It is, perhaps, best debated on a weekend in a social setting.  


HB 360 is a new bill to establish a surface water assessment and watering program. HB 107 slipped on the ice and was injured (see above), and HB 360 was introduced to try and allow the idea to move forward. However, there are no funds in this bill, and the program would have to be supported with existing dollars. MACD testified in favor of HB 107, and we testified in support of HB 360. There were many supporters and no opponents. The committee asked several incisive questions, including a request for estimated costs to run the program as proposed under this bill.  


On 15th February SB 93 was heard in front of and remains in the House Energy, Technology, and Federal Relations Committee. There is no rush for the committee to act on this bill, since it already passed the Senate.    SB 93 was initially heard in front of the  (S) Energy and Telecommunications Committee.  This bill provides for notification at certain dwellings for oil and gas operations. I believe it was in 2015 that the Conservation Districts passed a resolution pertaining to notification issues. Although this is a bit different from the resolution, it pertains to notification issues and may be of interest to a number of Conservation Districts. MACD did not attend this hearing. This bill was amended by the committee and passed on a 8-5 vote. The bill was debated on the floor of the House on 6th February and passed on a vote of 32-18.  


HB 281 is listed as “probably dead.” This bill would have impacted pipeline stream crossings and was titled “Locate certain utilities over water.” It is not known how this bill could have impacted Conservation Districts. This bill was scheduled for a hearing on Wednesday 25th January, but the sponsor withdrew the bill. I’ll keep it on this list until it is officially dead.


HB 228, a bill to provide funding for sage grouse stewardship, was heard in front of the House Natural Resources Committee. The bill passed out of committee on a 13-2 vote, and passed on the House floor 88-12. It was immediately sent to the full Appropriations Committee, where it was heard on 15th February. Once again, MACD testified in support of this bill. A revised fiscal note has been requested.  This bill would allow the unspent funds authorized at the 2015 Session for sage grouse to be carried forward for the next several years. MACD supported this program at the 2015 Session, and will continue to do so.


SB 162 is a bill to establish a regional infrastructure approach. It names Conservation Districts as an entity eligible for funds. The eligible projects include: “Infrastructure projects” means: (a) drinking water systems;  (b) wastewater treatment facilities; (c) sanitary sewer or storm sewer systems; (d) solid waste disposal and separation systems, including site acquisition, preparation, and monitoring; (e) local roads; (f)  bridges; or (g) buildings, equipment, and other facilities. The Department of Commerce would administer these funds. Although we do not regularly delve into these areas, there may be occasion where a District could be involved. This is not the flagship bill sponsored by the Montana Infrastructure Coalition.  We think these infrastructure bills will all be held until the last days as the Legislative and Executive branches work out a compromise.


HB 282 is “AN ACT CREATING A PROCESS FOR A COUNTY COMMISSION TO RESTORE THE TYPE OF ELECTION HELD BY A COUNTY IF AN ELECTION WAS HELD TO CHANGE THE TYPE OF ELECTION WITHOUT HAVING HELD AN ELECTION TO CHANGE THE FORM OF GOVERNMENT…” It appears that this bill does not impact Conservation Districts, but we are looking into it. I had to put it here because the title is very interesting. I left it in this week because of the comments I received.


On 14th February HB 370 passed on the floor of the House on second reading on a 68-32 vote. It’s now headed to the Senate for consideration. HISTORY:  HB 370 appears to impact Conservation Districts. It is AN ACT PROHIBITING ANY PERSON FROM BEING EXCLUDED FROM AN OPEN MEETING; ALLOWING RECORDINGS OF PUBLIC MEETINGS BY ANY PERSON. Here is the complete text:     “2-3-211.  Recording. Accredited press representatives A person may not be excluded from any open meeting under this part and may not be prohibited from taking photographs photographing, televising, transmitting images or audio by electronic or digital means, or recording such open meetings. The presiding officer may assure ensure that such these activities do not interfere with the conduct of the meeting.” Conservation Districts host hundreds and hundreds of public meetings each year. If this bill passes District Administrators will need to be aware of these requirements. MACD will keep monitoring and informing you of any progress/changes. It passed out of the House Judiciary Committee by one vote.  


Remember that you are able to watch or listen to any hearing from your computer, either live hearings or hearings held days ago. Scroll through the Video and Audio – Session section at this link:  to find the appropriate committee.




In other news…

The latest news we’ve heard is that the full Senate vote considering Representative Zinke for Secretary of the Interior and George Ervin “Sonny” Perdue III for Secretary of Agriculture will be held in March.  


There is no news as to who will be the new NRCS Chief. Leonard Jordan, who has a 37 year career with NRCS, is the Acting Chief. Those who have met Mr. Jordan know that NRCS is in good hands. This position will not be filled until the Secretary of Agriculture post is confirmed.


Who’s thinking about Christmas? I swear we just had it. Some people are.

From the USDA Forest Service: Montana Forest to Provide Nation’s Christmas Tree in 2017 – Tree Will Come From Kootenai National Forest – MISSOULA, MONT., Feb. 13, 2017 – The Kootenai National Forest has been selected to provide the 2017 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree slated for the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.  Preparations begin Saturday, Feb. 18 in conjunction with the District basketball games in Eureka, Mont. with a community event.

“Montanans are proud of our rich outdoor heritage: our public lands, forest and rangelands, and clean air and water that provide recreation and economic opportunities for thousands of Montanans,” said Governor Bullock. “It is an honor for Montana to provide the tree for our nation’s Capitol while also showcasing our ability to work with diverse interests to do what’s best for our forest lands.”

The last time a Montana tree was chosen for this honor was 2008.  The fir came from the Bitterroot National Forest.  “Once again folks from around the country get to see what a real Christmas tree looks like.  I am thrilled that we will be able to share a little bit of Montana’s incredible natural resources with the rest of the nation,” said Senator Jon Tester.

“This is a great honor for Montana to have the Kootenai National Forest selected to supply the 2017 Capitol Christmas Tree,” said Senator Steve Daines.  “This is an amazing opportunity to showcase the majesty of the Kootenai National Forest and Montana’s abundance of natural resources at the base of the U.S. Capitol for all Americans to enjoy. I’m excited for Montana to join with the rest of the nation in this special way to celebrate the joy of the Christmas season.”

“It is an honor for Montana to provide the official 2017 Capitol Christmas tree,” said Representative Ryan Zinke. “Montana’s forests are an important part of our heritage, economy, and legacy. I applaud the selection from the Kootenai National Forest and I look forward to a piece of our state being shared with Washington D.C., our nation and the rest of the world.”

News about the Yellowstone River:

If you are interested in an appointment please get your application in quickly.


What to watch next week and beyond…

Executive action for HB2’s portion of DNRC’s operating budget is scheduled in the (H) Joint Appropriations Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Transportation for Friday, 17th February. MACD will attend, but the audience is not allowed to participate in the committee discussions unless asked by a member of the committee. That is most often a rare occurrence. We understand that the committee is thinking of assigning percentages to the three recipients of the Coal Trust Shared account that we share with Growth Through Agriculture and Libraries. In past Sessions, this committee could make adjustments to the funds each of the three entities would receive based on the case made by the individual agency. Since this meeting is on Friday morning, we will not be able to update you until the next NFTF.

The rumor about transmittal date has generated much activity. The pace of hearings will pick up steam again next week. Several have been scheduled, but there will be more as the days pass.

I am sure that there’ll be some more votes on bills that have already been through the hearing process. This is called “Executive Action,” and the fate of many bills depends on a positive vote. Look for any bills that get out of committees and contain expenditures to be held in the full Appropriations Committee until finances are more clear to the Legislature.  

MACD President Jeff Wivholm hopes to be in Helena next week to help with hearings.


We’ve got our eyes on it…


If you wish to see our most current list of bills that we are monitoring, we’ve set up an account that will allow easy access to any of the bills we are tracking. There are more than 90 bills on this list. Go to this link:

Preference Account Login (login to an already established preference account)

​  Our User Name is MACD2017 and our Password is Conservation17​   

​Once you get there, click on MACD Tracker to see the list. ​Comments and ideas are welcome.


The details in that list change everyday.


Here are a few unintroduced bills that I highlighted, as they may be of interest to Conservation Districts. If details are available, you may find them with the MACD Tracker. The ones in red relate to a current or former MACD resolution. I’ve eliminated several of the bills, as there has been no action for weeks, and you may find them on the MACD Tracker.


LC006 – is a bill to revise laws related to closure of certain coal-fired generation. This bill may generate funds for the State of Montana. Some of the funds could be appropriated to Conservation Districts to carry out our responsibilities. There is no text available for this bill at this time, nor do we know when it will be introduced. Keep your eyes on this one.


LC736 – Generally revise laws related to infrastructure funding programs. We do not yet know what will be in this bill. However, there is a MACD resolution about infrastructure and this may be one to keep our eyes on. Currently this bill is on hold.


LC1160 – Generally revise floodplain laws. This bill is a direct result of the MACD Resolution of the same topic. This draft is on hold but is expected to move into the stream soon (pun intended). MACD is having continuous meetings with the sponsor, DNRC, and several Conservation District Supervisors about this bill.


NOTE: LC1663 is another bill to revise floodplain laws, also, but this draft request is on hold.


LC1524 – A resolution supporting lower Yellowstone River fish bypass, was taken off hold by the sponsor on 8th February. That means it’ll start moving through the process. The wording of the bill is unknown at this time, but the sponsor is a former Conservation District Supervisor.


LC1916- Revise funding for Growth Through Agriculture. Conservation Districts share a funding source with this program. If it’s changed, does it impact us? We have to keep watching. This bill is currently being drafted.


LC2250- Enact protections for Yellowstone River. MACD sent a separate note to the two river councils to ask for their help in monitoring this bill. We also visited with the sponsor at the Meet and Greet and were told that this bill has to do with implementing recommendations presented to the governor concerning the 1990’s Yellowstone River flood report. UPDATE: We visited with the sponsor and with Park Conservation District, as the focus of this bill addresses dams and minerals dredging on the Yellowstone River in Park County. The sponsor agreed to visit with Darryl Stutterheim via telephone about this bill.  


LC2323- Provide funding for the St. Mary irrigation rehabilitation project. This bill could be related to the MACD infrastructure bill that passed in 2016. This bill is being drafted.


You can look at each of these bills to see details on the MACD Tracker.




Remember that you are able to watch or listen to any hearing from your computer. Scroll through the Video and Audio – Session section at this link:  to find the appropriate committee.

Lend us a hand…

Talk to Legislators anytime you get a chance. Your local contact makes a great difference in the Capitol.

Thanks to all of you who are reading this report. Contact me with comments or questions or 406.465.8813. We appreciate your support in this endeavor, and for helping to keep Montana.




*In 1978, the Board of Natural Resources and Conservation granted water reservations to 14 conservation districts (CDs) in the Yellowstone River basin. Ten CDs were granted reservations in the upper Missouri River basin in 1992, and eleven CDs were given reservations in the lower and Little Missouri River basins in 1994. Some CDs have reservations in more than one basin. The Conservation Districts Bureau provides legal, technical, and programmatic assistance to conservation districts in administering water reservations.


At the end of the 2014 irrigation season, there were a total of 220 CD water reservation projects in the Yellowstone River basin. These projects put to use 99,438 acre-feet of water.

Conservation Districts have issued 82 reserved water use authorizations in the Missouri River basin, developing 29,246 acre-feet of water.


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