77-1-1109. Legislative findings -- purpose. (1) The legislature finds that:
(a) Article IX, section 3, of the Montana constitution provides that the use of all water that is or may be appropriated for sale, rent, distribution, or other beneficial use, the right-of-way over the lands of others for all ditches, drains, flumes, canals, and aqueducts necessarily used in connection with the beneficial use, and the sites for reservoirs necessary for collecting and storing water are a public use;
(b) a person who has historically used the bed of a navigable river in conjunction with a legal use of water or for other uses or a person who desires to use the bed of a navigable river in conjunction with a legal use of water or for other uses must be able to do so provided that statutory provisions are met; and
(c) any person who uses the bed of a navigable river after October 1, 2011, shall apply to the state for a lease, license, or easement and pay full market value for the use of the riverbed.
(2) The purpose of this part is to clarify the process for the use of the beds of navigable rivers and how the state should be compensated for that use.
(3) Nothing in this part diminishes the state's ownership of the beds of navigable rivers, streams, or lakes under any other law.