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Murphy Water Rights

Established by the Montana State Legislature in 1967, Murphy Water Rights appropriated stream-flow amounts necessary for the preservation of fish and wildlife habitats, which have a priority of right over other uses until a local District Court determines that the waters are needed in a way more beneficial to the public. Named for the legislative author, Jim Murphy of Kalispell, Murphy Rights go back only to 1970 and only protect flows when senior water rights have been satisfied. They really have limited value.

Following are the 12 streams and their reaches that are included within Murphys Rights:

• Big Spring creek, Fergus County, from its mouth to the state fish hatchery.

• Blackfoot River, Missoula and Powell Counties, from its mouth to the mouth of its North Fork.

• Flathead river, Flathead County, from its mouth to the Canadian border on the North Fork.

• Gallatin River in Gallatin County from its mouth to the junction of the East Fork.

• West Gallatin River in Gallatin County from the Beck and Border ditch intake to Yellowstone National Park boundary.

• Madison River in Madison and Gallatin County from its mouth to Hebgen Dam.

• Missouri River in Lewis and Clark, Broadwater and Cascade Counties from its junction with Smith River to Toston Dam.

• Rock Creek in Granite and Missoula Counties from its mouth to the junction of the East and West Forks of Rock Creek.

• Smith River in Cascade and Meagher Counties from the mouth of Hound Creek to the Fort Logan bridge.

• Yellowstone River in Stillwater, Sweetgrass and Park Counties from the North-South Carbon Stillwater County lines to where it leaves Yellowstone National Park boundary.

• Middle Fork Flathead River in Flathead County from its mouth to the mouth of Cox Creek.

• South Fork Flathead River in Flathead and Powell Counties from its mouth at Hungry Horse Reservoir to its source at the junction of Danaher and Youngs Creeks. ~

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