1625 Eleventh Avenue
To help ensure that Montana's land and water resources provide benefits for present and future generations
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) was established through the Executive Reorganization Act of 1971. It was restructured in 1995 to place many resource management functions of Montana within one agency.
Today, DNRC promotes stewardship of Montana’s water, soil, forest, and rangeland resources; regulates forest practices and oil and gas exploration and production, and administers several grant and loan programs.
DNRC has over 500 employees in seven divisions: Director's Office; Conservation and Resource Development; Forestry; Oil and Gas Conservation; Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission; Trust Land Management, and Water Resources.
The Director's Office (DO) provides managerial and administrative support services to the department through: 1) the Director's Office, which includes the director, legal staff, and public information; and 2) support services, which manages all financial activities, coordinates information systems, produces publications and graphic materials, handles all department procurement, and performs general administrative support services. Support services include fiscal affairs, data processing, personnel, legal, reception, and mail. Responsibilities include trust, loan, and bond revenue collection.
The Conservation and Resource Development Division (CARDD) provides technical, administrative, financial and legal assistance to Montana's 58 conservation districts by administering the Conservation District Act, Montana Rangeland Resources Act and the Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act. The division also manages several loan and grant programs for local communities, local governments, state agencies and private citizens. The programs include the State Revolving Fund, which current includes $150 million loaned to communities for water and waste water systems, Coal Severance Tax loans to governmental entities totaling $45 million and private loans for $16.5 million. Grant programs administer by the division include the Reclamation Development, Renewable Resource, and Conservation District grant programs.
The Forestry Division is responsible for planning and implementing forestry programs statewide. Forestry responsibilities include protecting Montana's natural resources from wildfire, regulating forest practices, and providing a variety of services to private forest landowners. Specific programs include:
1) Fire and Aviation Management - Protecting 50 million acres of state and private forest and watershed lands from wildfire through a combination of direct protection and county support.
2) Forest Practice Regulation - Enforcing Montana's streamside management zone regulations and monitoring the voluntary best management practices program on all forests in Montana.
3) Administering Montana's Fire Hazard Reduction Law - Ensuring that the fire hazard created by logging and other forest management operations on private forest lands is adequately reduced, or that additional fire protection is provided until the hazard is reduced.
4) Providing Forestry Services - Providing technical forestry assistance to private landowners, businesses and communities.
5) Tree and Shrub Nursery - Growing and selling seedlings for conservation and reforestation plantings on state and private lands in Montana. 892,500 seedlings were sold in fiscal year 2003 and 1,051,130 in fiscal year 2004, generating revenues of $322,836 and $368,000 respectably.
The Oil and Gas Conservation Division administers the Montana oil and gas conservation laws to promote conservation and prevent waste in the recovery of these resources through regulation of exploration and production of oil and gas. The division 1) issues drilling permits; 2) classifies wells; 3) establishes well spacing units and pooling orders; 4) inspects drilling, production, and seismic operations; 5) investigates complaints; 6) does engineering studies; 7) determines incremental production for enhanced recovery and horizontal wells to implement the tax incentive program for those projects; 8) operates the underground injection control program; 9) plugs orphan wells; and 10) collects and maintains complete well data and production information.
The Reserved Water Rights Compact Commission (RWRCC) was created by the legislature in 1979 as part of the water rights adjudication effort. It consists of four members appointed by the Governor, two by the President of the Senate, two by the Speaker of the House of representative, and one by the Attorney General. Members serve for four years. The commission negotiates water rights with the Indian tribes and federal agencies, which claim federal reserved water rights within the state, to establish a formal agreement (compact) on the amount of water to be allocated to each interest.
The Trust Land Management Division provides for the administration and management of trust lands granted to the State of Montana by the Enabling Act of 1889. These lands currently total 5.2 million surface acres and 6.2 million mineral acres. Additionally, the division is responsible for the administration of approximately 6,000 miles (40,000+ acres) of the beds of navigable waterways. The Trust Land Management Division is divided into four primary programs: forest management; agriculture and grazing management; real estate management; and minerals management.
The Water Resources Division is responsible for many programs associated with the uses, development, and protection of Montana's water. It manages and maintains the state-owned dams, reservoirs, and canals. The division also develops and recommends in state, interstate, and international water policy to the director, Governor, and legislature. The division consists of an administration unit and four bureaus: Water Management Bureau, Water Rights Bureau, State Water Projects Bureau, and the Water Operations Bureau.
The 2003 Legislature attached the Flathead Basin Commission to the department for administrative purposes. The Commission is charged to protect the natural resources and environment of the Flathead Basin.
Field operations for the department's programs are performed through field offices and personnel located in 28 different communities. Included are full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees from the Forestry, Trust Land Management, Water Resources, Oil and Gas Conservation, Conservation and Resource Development, and Director's Office.
If you have any questions, please call DNRC at (406) 444-2074, or send an email to our Public Information Office.