Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 3. Appropriations, Permits, and Certificates of Water Rights

Upper Clark Fork River Basin Steering Committee -- Membership And Duties -- Comprehensive Management Plan

85-2-338. Upper Clark Fork River basin steering committee -- membership and duties -- comprehensive management plan. (1) There is an upper Clark Fork River basin steering committee. The steering committee has 22 members, who must be appointed as follows:

(a) Each of the six conservation districts in the basin may appoint a member.

(b) Each of the six county commissions in the basin may appoint a member.

(c) The department director shall appoint the remaining 10 committee members and any additional committee members not appointed under subsections (1)(a) and (1)(b) and shall ensure that committee membership includes a balance of affected basin interests and is in conformance with subsection (2).

(2) Steering committee members must be selected on the basis of their knowledge of water use, water management, fish, wildlife, recreation, water quality, and water conservation. Representation on the committee must include but is not limited to representatives from affected:

(a) agriculture;

(b) conservation districts;

(c) departments of state government;

(d) environmental organizations;

(e) industries;

(f) local governments;

(g) reservation applicants;

(h) utilities; and

(i) water users not otherwise represented.

(3) Except as provided in subsection (4), steering committee members shall serve 4-year terms and may serve more than one term.

(4) Initial term lengths must be staggered in conformance with the following:

(a) conservation district appointees shall initially serve for 4 years;

(b) county commissioner appointees shall initially serve for 2 years; and

(c) as determined by the department, half of the department appointees shall initially serve for 2 years and the remainder shall initially serve for 4 years.

(5) The steering committee, consistent with the upper Clark Fork River basin comprehensive management plan, shall:

(a) review the upper Clark Fork River basin closure and exceptions as provided in 85-2-336 no less than every 5 years after April 14, 1995, and make recommendations to the legislature regarding necessary changes;

(b) prepare and submit a report concerning the relationship between surface water and ground water and the cumulative impacts of ground water withdrawals in each subbasin;

(c) provide a forum for all interests to communicate about water issues;

(d) provide education about water law and water management issues;

(e) identify short-term and long-term water management issues and problems and identify alternatives for resolving them;

(f) identify the potential beneficiaries of and a funding mechanism for new and expanded water storage sites;

(g) assist in facilitating the resolution of water-related disputes;

(h) provide coordination with other basin management and planning efforts;

(i) advise government agencies about water management and permitting activities;

(j) consult with local governments within the upper Clark Fork River basin; and

(k) report relevant recommendations as determined necessary to the legislature in accordance with 5-11-210.

History: En. Sec. 4, Ch. 741, L. 1991; amd. Sec. 3, Ch. 487, L. 1995; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 353, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 2, Ch. 85, L. 2005; amd. Sec. 121, Ch. 261, L. 2021.