Water Adjudication Bureau

The Water Adjudication Bureau assists the Montana Water Court in the adjudication of all claims to pre July 1, 1973 water rights. The Bureau examines all claims pursuant to Supreme Court rules and provides a summary report to the Water Court on each of the basins (85) in the state. Pursuant to legislation passed in 2005 the Bureau must complete the examination of the remaining claims 57,000 claims (as of 2005) by June 30, 2015. The Bureau must provide summary reports to the Water Court for the remaining 30 basins (as of 2005) by June of 2020. The Bureau is required to report progress quarterly to the Environmental Quality Council (EQC). The Bureau also provides post decree assistance to the Water Court as requested and to district courts as Water Court decrees are placed under enforcement (upon petition to the district court).

Downstream states and Canada are demanding water in increasing amounts. Montana cannot defend its water use from other states' demands or calls on water until it has completed the adjudication of all the water rights in Montana and knows how much of our water is currently being claimed and used. Issuing water right decrees for every basin in Montana will help the state establish its historic usage. Decrees protect Montana users and assist in settling disputes among users. Enforcing water rights is only possible with a water right decree in place. Settling water rights is also helpful for the state's economic development. Knowing how much water is available in a basin assists planners and developers.

Basin Location and Adjudication Status Map
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Adjudication Status: Sorted by Drainage Basin Number

Basin
#
Decree Type Date Issued Basin Name
  PRELIMINARY 090306 BLM MONTANA COMPACT
  PRELIMINARY 140402 BOWDOIN WILDLIFE REFUGE COMPACT
  PRELIMINARY 121221 CROW COMPACT
  PRELIMINARY 080519 FOREST SERVICE MONTANA COMPACT
  PRELIMINARY 111030 FWS NATIONAL BISON RANGE COMPACT
38H FINAL 840327 BELLE FOURCHE RIVER, ABOVE CHEYENNE RIVER
39E TEMPORARY 850201 BOX ELDER CREEK
39F TEMPORARY 850201 LITTLE MISSOURI RIVER, ABOVE LITTLE BEAVER CREEK
39FJ TEMPORARY 850131 LITTLE BEAVER CREEK
39G PRELIMINARY 850118 BEAVER CREEK, TRIBUTARY OF LITTLE MISSOURI RIVER
39H FINAL 840327 LITTLE MISSOURI, BELOW LITTLE BEAVER CREEK
40A TEMPORARY 850507 MUSSELSHELL RIVER, ABOVE ROUNDUP
40B PRELIMINARY 110505 FLATWILLOW CREEK, INCLUDING BOX ELDER CREEK
40C TEMPORARY 900206 MUSSELSHELL RIVER, BELOW ROUNDUP
40D PRELIMINARY 840928 DRY CREEK
40E TEMPORARY 850307 MISSOURI RIVER, BETWEEN MUSSELSHELL RIVER AND FORT PECK DAM
40EJ PRELIMINARY 140425 MISSOURI RIVER, BETWEEN BULLWHACKER CREEK AND MUSSELSHELL RIVERS
40F PRELIMINARY 131212 MILK RIVER, ABOVE FRESNO RESERVOIR
40G PRELIMINARY 831220 SAGE CREEK
40H PRELIMINARY 030122 BIG SANDY CREEK
40I PRELIMINARY 130620 PEOPLES CREEK
40J PRELIMINARY 100624 MILK RIVER, BETWEEN FRESNO RESERVOIR AND WHITEWATER CREEK
40K TEMPORARY 891121 WHITEWATER CREEK
40L TEMPORARY 850116 FRENCHMAN CREEK
40M PRELIMINARY 090320 BEAVER CREEK, TRIBUTARY OF MILK RIVER
40N PRELIMINARY 850813 ROCK CREEK, TRIBUTARY OF MILK RIVER
40O PRELIMINARY 950524 MILK RIVER, BELOW WHITEWATER INCLUDING PORCUPINE CREEK
40P FINAL 850522 REDWATER RIVER
40Q PRELIMINARY 991229 POPLAR RIVER
40R PRELILMINARY 100128 BIG MUDDY CREEK
40S PRELIMINARY 991229 MISSOURI RIVER, BELOW FORT PECK DAM
40T PRELIMINARY 140625 ST. MARY RIVER
41A PRELIMINARY 130509 RED ROCK RIVER
41B PRELIMINARY 130509 BEAVERHEAD RIVER
41C TEMPORARY 901114 RUBY RIVER
41D TEMPORARY 070406 BIG HOLE RIVER
41E TEMPORARY 850620 BOULDER RIVER, TRIBUTARY OF JEFFERSON RIVER
41F TEMPORARY 840725 MADISON RIVER
41G TEMPORARY 891017 JEFFERSON RIVER
41H TEMPORARY 850926 GALLATIN RIVER
41I TEMPORARY 950308 MISSOURI RIVER, ABOVE HOLTER DAM
41J PRELIMINARY 101216 SMITH RIVER
41K TEMPORARY 850514 SUN RIVER
41L 100% examined ------ CUT BANK CREEK
41M 20.49% examined ------ TWO MEDICINE RIVER
41N PRELIMINARY 840706 WILLOW CREEK
41O TEMPORARY 051229 TETON RIVER
41P ------ ------ MARIAS RIVER
41Q PRELIMINARY 100527 MISSOURI RIVER, FROM SUN TO MARIAS RIVERS
41QJ TEMPORARY 080206 MISSOURI RIVER, FROM HOLTER DAM TO SUN RIVER
41R PRELIMINARY 110623 ARROW CREEK
41S TEMPORARY 840517 JUDITH RIVER
41T PRELIMINARY 120419 MISSOURI RIVER, FROM MARIAS RIVER TO AND INCLUDING BULLWHACKER CREEK
41U TEMPORARY 840510 DEARBORN RIVER
42A PRELIMINARY 052313 ROSEBUD CREEK
42B PRELIMINARY 080228 TONGUE RIVER, ABOVE AND INCLUDING HANGING WOMAN CREEK
42C PRELIMINARY 080228 TONGUE RIVER, BELOW HANGING WOMAN CREEK
42I
42J
FINAL 830531 LITTLE POWDER RIVER
POWDER RIVER, BELOW CLEAR CREEK
42K PRELIMINARY 850919 YELLOWSTONE RIVER, BETWEEN TONGUE AND POWDER RIVERS
42KJ TEMPORARY 031114 YELLOWSTONE RIVER, BETWEEN BIGHORN AND TONGUE RIVERS
42L FINAL 850417 O'FALLON CREEK
42M PRELIMINARY 140124 YELLOWSTONE RIVER, BELOW POWDER RIVER
43A TEMPORARY 880803 SHIELDS RIVER
43B TEMPORARY 850116 YELLOWSTONE RIVER, ABOVE AND INCLUDING BRIDGER CREEK
43BJ TEMPORARY 850403 BOULDER RIVER, TRIBUTARY OF YELLOWSTONE RIVER
43BV TEMPORARY 841219 SWEET GRASS CREEK
43C TEMPORARY 851107 STILLWATER RIVER
43D TEMPORARY 930609 CLARKS FORK YELLOWSTONE RIVER
43E PRELIMINARY 100225 PRYOR CREEK
43N PRELIMINARY 130613 SHOSHONE RIVER
43O PRELIMINARY 100325 LITTLE BIGHORN RIVER
43P ------ ------ BIGHORN RIVER, BELOW GREYBULL RIVER
43Q TEMPORARY 981229 YELLOWSTONE RIVER, BETWEEN CLARKS FORK YELLOWSTONE AND BIGHORN RIVER
43QJ PRELIMINARY 850723 YELLOWSTONE RIVER, FROM BRIDGER CREEK TO CLARKS FORK YELLOWSTONE
76B TEMPORARY 840322 YAAK RIVER
76C TEMPORARY 840228 FISHER RIVER
76D TEMPORARY 840322 KOOTENAI RIVER
76E TEMPORARY 840329 ROCK CREEK, TRIBUTARY OF CLARK FORK RIVER
76F PRELIMINARY 110211 BLACKFOOT RIVER
76FA TEMPORARY 060310 UNION CREEK
76G TEMPORARY 850517 CLARK FORK, ABOVE BLACKFOOT RIVER
76GJ TEMPORARY 840329 FLINT CREEK
76H sub-basins: ------ BITTERROOT RIVER
76HA 41.33% examined   BITTERROOT RIVER, MAIN STEM
76HB TEMPORARY 920916 BITTERROOT RIVER, NORTH END
76HE TEMPORARY 940525 BITTERROOT RIVER, SOUTH END
76HF PRELIMINARY 980114 BITTERROOT RIVER, WEST SIDE
76I TEMPORARY 840809 FLATHEAD RIVER, MIDDLE FORK
76J TEMPORARY 840809 FLATHEAD RIVER, SOUTH FORK
76K TEMPORARY 840809 SWAN RIVER
76L ------ ------ FLATHEAD RIVER, BELOW FLATHEAD LAKE
76LJ ------ ------ FLATHEAD RIVER, TO AND INCLUDING FLATHEAD LAKE
76M TEMPORARY 841129 CLARK FORK, BETWEEN BLACKFOOT AND FLATHEAD RIVERS
76N TEMPORARY 840228 CLARK FORK, BELOW FLATHEAD RIVER

Contact

Dept. of Natural Resources & Conservation
1625 Eleventh Ave.
Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2074
Fax: (406) 444-2684