Montana Code Annotated 2023



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

Bitterroot River Subbasin Temporary Closure -- Definitions -- Exceptions

85-2-344. Bitterroot River subbasin temporary closure -- definitions -- exceptions. (1) Unless the context requires otherwise, in this section, the following definitions apply:

(a) "Application" means an application for a beneficial water use permit pursuant to 85-2-302 or a state water reservation pursuant to 85-2-316.

(b) "Bitterroot River basin" means the drainage area of the Bitterroot River and its tributaries above the confluence of the Bitterroot River and Clark Fork of the Columbia River and designated as "Basin 76H".

(c) "Bitterroot River subbasin" means one of the following hydrologically related portions of the Bitterroot River basin:

(i) the mainstem subbasin, designated as "Subbasin 76HA";

(ii) the north end subbasin, designated as "Subbasin 76HB";

(iii) the east side subbasin, designated as "Subbasin 76HC";

(iv) the southeast subbasin, designated as "Subbasin 76HD";

(v) the south end subbasin, designated as "Subbasin 76HE";

(vi) the southwest subbasin, designated as "Subbasin 76HF";

(vii) the west central subbasin, designated as "Subbasin 76HG"; or

(viii) the northwest subbasin, designated as "Subbasin 76HH".

(2) As provided in 85-2-319, the department may not grant an application for a permit to appropriate water or for a state water reservation within a Bitterroot River subbasin until the closure for the basin is terminated pursuant to subsection (5) of this section, except for:

(a) an application for a permit to appropriate ground water if the applicant complies with the provisions of 85-2-360;

(b) an application for a permit to appropriate water for use of surface water by or for a municipality;

(c) temporary emergency appropriations, including for emergency fire training and emergency fire-related operations, pursuant to 85-2-113(3);

(d) an application submitted pursuant to 85-20-1401, Article VI;

(e) an application to store water during high spring flow in an impoundment with a capacity of 50 acre-feet or more; or

(f) an application for a permit to appropriate surface water to conduct response actions related to natural resource restoration required for:

(i) remedial actions pursuant to the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. 9601, et seq.;

(ii) aquatic resource activities carried out in compliance with and as required by the federal Clean Water Act of 1977, 33 U.S.C. 1251 through 1387; or

(iii) remedial actions taken pursuant to Title 75, chapter 10, part 7.

(3) A permit issued to conduct remedial actions or aquatic resource activities under subsection (2)(f) may not be used for dilution.

(4) A change of use authorization for changing the purpose of use may not be issued for any permit issued pursuant to subsection (2)(b), (2)(c), or (2)(f).

(5) Each Bitterroot River subbasin is closed to new appropriations and new state water reservations until 2 years after all water rights in the subbasin arising under the laws of the state are subject to an enforceable and administrable decree as provided in 85-2-406(4).

History: En. Sec. 1, Ch. 205, L. 1999; amd. Sec. 16, Ch. 213, L. 2007; amd. Sec. 12, Ch. 391, L. 2007; amd. Sec. 117, Ch. 2, L. 2009; amd. Sec. 6, Ch. 264, L. 2017.