310 Permits

Montana ’s Natural Streambed and Land Preservation Act, also known as the 310 Law, is a state law which requires that any person planning to work in or near a perennial stream or river on private or public land must first obtain a 310 Permit from the local conservation district.

The purpose of the 310 Law is to insure that projects on perennial streams will be carried out in ways that are not damaging to the stream, its banks or to adjoining landowners. The Ruby Valley Conservation District (RVCD) administers the 310 law in the Ruby Watershed. There is no fee for the 310 permit.

In Case of Emergency

The 310 Law contains a provision to handle actions necessary to safeguard life or property, including growing crops, during emergencies. The emergency form is available on this Web site or from the RVCD office. If you must take emergency action, notify the RVCD in writing within 15 days of the action taken explaining what was done and why. The emergency action will be reviewed by the RVCD, which will decide whether the action was appropriate, must be modified, or must be removed and/or replaced.

Emergency Form


Activities Without a Permit

It is a misdemeanor to initiate a project without a permit; to conduct activities outside the scope of the permit, to violate emergency procedures, or to use prohibited materials in a project. Upon conviction of a misdemeanor, a person may be punished by a fine up to $500 or by a civil penalty not to exceed $500 per day for each day the person continues to alter the stream. In addition, at the discretion of the court, the person may be required to restore the damaged stream as recommended by the RVCD to as near its prior condition as possible.

If you would like to report an activity that may be a violation of the 310 law, please fill out the complaint/violation form and mail it to the RVCD. You can download a complaint/violation form from this Web site, or contact the RVCD. Also, if you would like information on current permits please contact our office.

Permit Process

1. Complete and submit the Joint Application Form

Forms can be submitted to the District Administrator via email or in person at the RVCD office. Applications will be reviewed at RVCD Advisory Board Meetings, held the 1st Wednesday of every month. Submit your application as soon as possible prior to the next upcoming meeting to ensure it will be placed on the agenda. All RVCD Meetings are open to the public, and applicants are strongly encouraged to attend.

2. Site Inspection

An on-site inspection with a Conservation District and a Montana FWP representative is set upon receipt of the 310 application. The team will discuss the project on site. After an inspection is conducted, team members make recommendations to the District at a regular meeting. You may wish to review the Team Member Report form to familiarize yourself with the criterion your project will be evaluated on.  If no inspection is required, the District may proceed with the application and the applicant will be notified of its decision.

3. Decision

During the next monthly 310-meeting, applications are approved, modified, or denied for a permit. This time period can be extended if the RVCD determines it necessary to collect further information. After receiving notice of the decision, the applicant has 15 days to sign and return the Board’s Decision Form to indicate agreement (Note: Permit letters may take up to two weeks to be sent out). Unless otherwise stated on the supervisors decision form, the applicant must wait 15 days before proceeding with the project. If the applicant does not return the signed Board’s Decision Form, the permit is automatically null and void. The RVCD has 60 Days upon receipt of an application to make a decision.

The District considers these factors:

  • The effects on soil erosion and sedimentation, considering the methods available to complete the project and the nature and economics of the various alternatives.
  • The effects of stream alteration.
  • The effects on stream flow, turbidity, and water quality caused by materials used or by removal of ground cover
  • The effects on fish and aquatic habitat.
  • Whether there are modifications or alternative solutions that are reasonably practical that would reduce the disturbance to the stream and its environment and better accomplish the purpose of the project.
  • Whether the proposed project will create harmful flooding or erosion problems upstream or downstream.

310 Forms & Applications

Application forms can be downloaded below or picked up at our office.

Joint Application Form  | Joint Application Instructions

Emergency Form

Complaint Form

Please mail completed forms to:

Ruby Valley Conservation District
PO Box 295
Sheridan, MT 59747

Or deliver them to our office

Sheridan USDA Service Center
402 South Main Street Sheridan, MT 59749