Before you begin

If you are planning on work in, over, under, or along a stream you need to obtain the appropriate permits PRIOR to beginning that work.

Before you begin your permit application, take some time to learn about the permit process and determine which permit is right for you. Applicants can find complete permit information at the Department of Natural Resource and Conservation 310 Stream Permitting web page.

Supervisors and Administrators can access, “Montana Stream Permitting: A Guide for Conservation District Supervisors and Others”, for detailed guidance on making decisions regarding stream permitting in Montana.

1. Project Design and River Protection

Your project must be designed to minimize impacts such as sedimentation and erosion during and after construction. The project should preserve and protect the river or stream, maintaining it in as natural a condition as possible. Contact relevant agencies to determine if specific criteria apply. Visit the "How to Apply" page for a comprehensive list of permits and agencies.

2. Recommendation on Purchasing Materials

It is recommended not to purchase materials for project construction until all permits are issued, as the size and type of materials may be modified during the permitting process.

3. Importance of Vegetation for Stream Stability

Vegetation is crucial for the stability and health of the stream. Vegetation removal must be minimized, and bare ground must be replanted. Weeds must be controlled in the area until the vegetation is established.

4. Prevention of Aquatic Invasive Species

Use clean equipment to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. Ensure your equipment is free of weeds, weed seeds, and excess grease before using it in a waterway. Clean mud and aquatic plants from heavy machinery or other equipment before moving between waters and work sites. Drain water from machinery and let it dry before moving to another location. To learn more about aquatic invasive species in Montana, visit: