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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
Questions? Email us

Proposing to Build a New Dam

Does your dam require permits from the Dam Safety Program?


If you determine that your proposed dam falls under permitting authority of the Dam Safety Act:

Step 1  Apply for a downstream Hazard Classification ($125 fee)

Step 2  Obtain a water right


Step 3  If your dam is classified as “high hazard”, you must obtain a Construction Permit (no fee).

A Construction Permit application must be accompanied by construction plans and specifications and an engineering design report. The plans, specifications and report must be prepared by a licensed professional engineer experienced in dam design and construction.



Step 4  Obtain other applicable permits

Step 5  Prior to storing water in your newly constructed dam, obtain an Operation Permit.

An operation permit application for a new dam must include an operation plan. The operation plan consists of reservoir operation procedures, maintenance procedures for the dam and appurtenant works and emergency procedures. Operation permits are issued for 5 year periods.


Step 6  Annually update the Emergency Action Plan and conduct an Owner’s Inspection


Step 7  Every five years, the Operation Permit must be renewed.

To renew the Operation Permit, an inspection of the dam must be completed by a licensed professional engineer. The operation plan must also be reviewed and updated as necessary.


Contact Dam Safety
Dam Safety
DNRC Water Resources
1424 9th Avenue
PO Box 201601
Helena, MT 59620-1601


Bureau Chief
(406) 444-6816

Michele Lemieux, PE
Dam Safety Program Manager / Civil Engineer
(406) 444-6613

Chadrick Hill 
Civil Engineering Specialist
(406) 444-1358

Administrative Support
(406) 444-0862

, EI
Helena Regional Office
(406) 556-4508

Havre Regional Office
(406) 265-5516

Sam Johnson, PE
Billings Regional Office
(406) 247-4423

Larry Schock, CFM
Missoula Regional Office
(406) 542-5885

Marc Pitman, PE CFM
Kalispell  Regional Engineering Specialist
(406) 752-2713

Sterling Sundheim, CFM
Lewistown Regional Office
(406) 538-7459

, EI
Bozeman Regional Office
(406) 556-4508