Montana Trout Unlimited
Montana Trout Unlimited Legislative Update
February 1, 2013 

As the Montana Legislature rolls into February it's still hard to determine what this legislative session portends for water, fish and recreational access to streams. So far, big picture items have revolved around fiscal matters, such as shoring up the pension system for state employees, modifying taxation and funding education. However, conservation of fish, wildlife and water, as well as hunting and fishing haven't been ignored. As of late January more than 50 bills were directed at FWP management or funding. 


For a detailed list of the priority bills we are tracking, see our Hotlist at  


Primary areas we are focusing on include: 


Water - Most bills we have looked at we either support, or, we are neutral on. However, SB 19 is still problematic. It codifies a loophole that allows developers to use unlimited "exempt wells" for subdivisions or fish ponds, without having to have the cumulative effects of this use evaluated for how it might affect connected trout streams or senior water rights. 


Land use planning - A bevy of bills have been introduced that reduce the ability of local government to use planning and zoning to protect fish, wildlife, water, human health and safety and property rights. Particularly bad is SB 17, a bill that would place a constitutional initiative on the general ballot altering language affecting private property in a way that invites blizzards of lawsuits by landowners who object to reasonable regulations that protect water, air, fish or wildlife.  Other bills will make it difficult for private interests or FWP to purchase conservation easements from willing sellers. 


Funding - We are supporting a number of bills that fund DNRC reclamation programs that include funding for projects that improve fishery habitat. We are also supporting full funding for FWP's successful Future Fisheries Improvement Program, which has funded millions of dollars of fishery habitat restoration over the past 17 years. We might need your help on that one. 


We expect to see additional bills this month that we will need to support or oppose. Your help will be crucial. Please keep checking And don't hesitate to contact us at 406-543-0054, or, at


Check out our new website!
In 2013, Montana Trout Unlimited rolled out  a redesigned website. has the same great conservation content while adding a news feed, an events calendar for TU activities across the state and more...Check it out!
Bamboo Rods for Sale!


Want to buy a great bamboo rod while supporting trout conservation in Montana at the same time?  Here is your chance!  Montana TU has been gifted a number of bamboo rods and we are selling them to support our mission. Check them out at  


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phone: 406-543-0054
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