Stillwater Conservation District works to help private landowners conserve natural resources in Stillwater County, Montana.
Stillwater CD is also charged with administering the Natural Streambed and Land Preservation (310) Law within our district. That means that we are responsible for issuing 310 Permits for work in or near streambeds. You can read more about what constitutes a project, what permits are needed for streambed work, and download the forms for a permit application on our website, or come into the office.
What Do Conservation Districts Do?
The 310 Law: The Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act, also known as "The 310 Law", is administered by the conservation districts. The purpose of the law is to keep rivers and streams in as natural or existing condition as possible, to minimize sedimentation and to recognize beneficial uses. Any individual or corporation proposing construction in a perennial stream, must apply for a 310 Permit through the local conservation district.
Water Reservations: Conservation districts in Montana are able to reserve water for future beneficial use. Currently, 31 conservation districts hold water reservations throughout the Yellowstone, Little Missouri, and Missouri River basins. Each of these conservation districts administers its reservation for use by individuals within the district. Applications for reserved water use can be obtained from the applicable conservation district.
Youth Education: Conservation districts work with schools to develop conservation education curricula and outdoor classrooms by:
- Coordinating technical and financial assistance, provide teaching aids; and,
- Sponsoring youth conservation field days and annual camps including Natural Resource Youth Camp, Montana Youth Range Camp, Montana Range Days and Montana Envirothon.
Saline Seep Reclamation: Conservation district supervisors in 33 counties make up the membership of the Montana Salinity Control Association. This internationally recognized organization headquartered in Conrad, Montana provides expert technical assistance in the reclamation and control of saline seeps in agricultural areas. What is a saline seep? You may have seen white, powdery-looking spots in the low areas of fields. These spots are seeps, and they have adverse effects on water quality, wildlife, agriculture production, and other resources.
Conservation Equipment/Supplies: Many conservation districts rent out a wide array of equipment for conservation practices to land users, including:
- Tree Planters;
- Fabric Layers;
- Weed Sprayers;
- Weed Badgers;
- Conservation Tillage Drills;
- Grass Seeders; and,
- Tree Chippers
In addition, many conservation districts sell trees for conservation plantings, provide landowner maps, and provide a host of other services for conservation purposes.
Watershed Planning: Watershed groups are locally led and work on local and regional natural resource management issues on a river basin or watershed basis. Conservation districts are often instrumental on drawing people and resources together to assist the development of these groups.
Urban Conservation: With the rapid increase in subdivided acreages, and the resource issues associated with these small tracts, conservation districts have recently taken on a new role. Conservation districts may operate recycling programs, create and maintain interpretive trails, sponsor water projects, or provide education in natural resource management in an urban setting.
Conservation Projects/Planning: Conservation districts promote voluntary, education and incentive-based approaches to conservation. Planning and local input is an important aspect to this approach. Many projects throughout the state are undertaken to demonstrate the latest methods of riparian management, soil health improvements, water quality improvements, river and stream restoration, irrigation efficiencies, and range management. In addition, conservation districts host local conservation education events on the latest farming practices, urban conservation, weed control, and other current topics.