Why were Conservation Districts Created?
Conservation districts are unites of local government designed to help citizens conserve their soil, water, and other renewable natural resources. They were organized in the 1930s as a response to the “Dust Bowl” days. In 1937, President Roosevelt encouraged Montana to adopt legislation enabling the creation of local soil conservation districts. Today, there are almost 3000 conservation districts nationwide, and their conservation activities encompass a wide spectrum of natural resource issues. The State Montana passed legislation creating its conservation districts in 1939 to provide for local control of natural resource management programs and activities. Montana’s 58 conservation districts cover all counties and include more than 70 municipalities included within district boundaries. Each District is governed by a Board of Supervisors. Five are elected in the general public election, and two Urban Supervisors are appointed by Incorporated Municipalities within the District. In addition to the appointed and elected Supervisors serving the District, the CD may appoint an unlimited number of local individuals to serve as Associate Supervisors.
How Do Conservation Districts Operate?
Montana’s CDs are political subdivisions of the state and are governed by a board of five supervisors elected by local voters in a general election. In addition, a municipality that has chosen to be incorporated into a district may appoint up to two urban supervisors to represent urban interests on the board. This combination of officials representing diverse views has a relatively broad scope of authorities.
Because of their unique characteristics and proven track record, CDs have been entrusted by the state with mandated activities such as implementation of the 310 Law, water reservations, stream access portage routes, county planning board participation, and local Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) consultation. Also, CDs serve as the local point of contact for numerous federal programs. This is all in addition to the long-standing CD roles such as educating landowners about sound conservation practices, tree planting and organizing educational activities for school children.
310 Law – Permitting:
Each Conservation District in the State of Montana is responsible for Administering the Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act or 310 Law (Senate Bill 310) on behalf of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) for proposed activities which would alter the bed and or banks of any stream of concern. The Blaine County Conservation District requires that 310 applications be submitted for proposed work on the following streams:
North East Blaine County
Woody Island Coulee
South East Blaine County
Creek White Bear Creek
S. Rock Peoples Creek
North West Blaine County
E. Rok Battle Creek
Red Rock Creek
South West Blaine County
Black Coulee Creek
North Central Blaine County
Thirty Mile Creek
All 310 Applications must be reviewed at a regular Conservation District Board Meeting and be noticed on the Agenda.
In the event of a River or Stream related emergency please contact the District immediately at (406) 357-2320 x 101.
More information on the 310 Application and Permitting Process can be found here or by contacting the Blaine County Conservation District at: (406) 357-2320 x 101.
Current 310 Application Materials may be downloaded here or by contacting the District at: (406) 357-2320 x 101.
In order to promote conservation practices, districts rent out equipment to land users. The Blaine County Conservation District has a Tree planter and Flow meter for rent.
Tree Planter Rental: $50 / per day: A Rental agreement must be completed prior to scheduling and use.
Flow Meter: Free.
(Contact Conservation District at 406-357-2320 X 101 )
Danny Pratt – NRCS District Conservationist/ Chinook Field Office
Ben Hauptman – MSU Extension agent – Advisor
Christian Lehnert – County Weed Supervisor
Board of Supervisors
Gary Unruh – Chair
Kurt Hansen – Vice Chair
Bryan Hawley – Treasurer
Sonny Obrecht – Urban Supervisor– Turner
Todd Malsam – Urban Supervisor – Chinook
Ed Erskine – Associate Supervisor
228 Ohio St. PO Box 189
Chinook, MT 59523
Hours of Operation
8 a.m. to 12 p.m.