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Montana State Capitol

Instream Flows for Dewatered Important Fisheries 2015

 Montana River Action is re-introducing a bill for Instream Flows. The Bill, LC 2061, is a remedy for the dewatering of 4,739 miles of Important Fisheries that are identified by “Montana State Fish, Wildlife & Parks Dewatering Concern Areas” list. The bill requires 25% of the Average Annual Flow to remain in streams, in periods of low water to protect important fisheries.

The sweet, clean flowing waters of Montana are a public trust resource, the same as clean air. The Bill is in compliance with our Montana Constitution which states: “Public trust interests and private property interests are constitutionally protected, and when in competition must be reconciled to protect important fisheries.

No additional personnel, gauging stations, or water diversion structures need to be installed to manage, administer or enforce the provision of the Bill. The on-the-ground, working irrigation rights system will continue to control all water distributions and would be responsible to retain 25 percent of the Average Annual Flow where important fisheries are about to be dewatered.

Please ask your Legislators to support this bill to protect our fish. Without such a law the fish either have to move out of a stream or die. ~

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