Wetlands State Resource Locator

State Wetlands Information Tool (SWIFT)


Montana

Note: Most states have enacted laws and regulations to protect wetlands. In many cases, these rules are established to define the state's role in the "§404 permit/§401 certification process." This process involves the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and your state environmental agency. To learn more about the wetlands permitting process go to the CICA Wetlands Regulations/Permit page.

Primary State Wetlands Web Page. This web page should explain the state wetlands program and provide links to various wetlands resources.

Construction Permit Process - State Rules

    How Are Wetlands Activities Regulated by Montana? The Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) conserves wetlands under the Montana Water Quality Act. The DEQ Permitting and Compliance Division identifies five specific types of permits or regulations that could apply to wetlands depending upon the activity proposed. These are the Storm Water Discharge General Permit, the Streamside Management Zone Law, the short-term exemption from Montana's Surface Water Quality Standards (3A Authorization),and Montana Land-Use License or Easement on Navigable Waters. Rules established under other statutory schemes, such as the Lakeshore Protection Act and the Montana Dam Safety Act, may also apply.

    Mitigation Measures. Mitigation can include complete avoidance of the negative impact, minimizing the impact, or compensating for the impact. Popular measures are wetland restoration, creation, enhancement, and preservation. Montana generally follows the sequence for mitigation required under the Clean Water Act: avoidance; impact minimization; and mitigation.

Regulatory Definitions
    Wetlands. Wetlands include marshes, swamps, potholes, wet meadows, fens, impoundments, ponds, and sloughs. They generally have water on or near the surface, all or part of the year; distinctive poorly drained soils that develop certain physical traits due to the presence of water; and vegetation, composed of hydrophytes, adapted to live in wet soils. Montana relies on the definition of wetland found in the 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual issued by the Corps of Engineers.

    Regulated Wetland Activities. Persons cannot cause pollution of any state waters or place or caused to be placed any wastes that will cause pollution; violate any provision set in a permit or stipulation; site and construct a sewage lagoon less than 500 feet from a water well; cause degradation of waters; violate an order issued under the Water Quality Act; construct, modify, or operate a disposal system without a permit; construct or use any outlet for sewage discharge without a permit; discharge sewage or other wastes into state waters without a permit. The construction or commencement of construction for any activity requiring a state water quality certification also cannot occur unless the state has issued a certification or has waived certification.

Wetland Regulatory Background Information Organizations/Non-Government Programs
  • Water Environment Federation. The WEF Web site provides access to a wetlands related technical discussion area, as well as publications and other information on wetlands.

  • Wetlands Regulation Center. The Wetlands Regulation Center Web site contains information on laws, policies and regulations concerning activities regulated under Sections 401 and 404 of the Clean Water Act.

  • Association of State Wetland Managers. The Association of State Wetland Managers Web site provides information on wetlands news and events, including new regulations/legislation, upcoming conferences and events, publications, and more.

  • Society of Wetland Scientists. The Society of Wetland Scientists Web site provides access to on-line scientific wetlands journals and a wetlands discussion forum, as well as information on upcoming wetlands conferences and events.

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