Montana Audubon

Montana Audubon works at the local, state and national policy levels to protect our natural heritage.

Land Use Planning and Protection of Streams & Wetlands

Montana Audubon focuses on the protection of wetlands and riparian because it is the most important wildlife habitat in the state, and because it is increasingly threatened by development pressures. In our work, we have developed a series of resources that can be used by government officials and interested citizens working to protect our streams and wetlands. Each publication can be downloaded by clicking on the links below:

Planning Guide for Montana's Wetlands and Riparian Areas:

Montana’s wetlands and riparian areas are increasingly threatened by development pressures. This guide, updated in 2008, discusses how land use planning decisions at the local level can address these issues.

The Need for Stream Buffers: What Does the Science Say?:

In our work to protect streams, we are consistantly asked to “show the science.” What does the scientific literature say? To answer this, here are three publications on the size of stream vegetative buffers needed to protect water quality, fish & aquatic habitat, and wildlife & wildlife habitat.

Regulations Adopted by Montana Local Governments:

Learn how different local governments – from Lake County to the city of Missoula, and from Choteau County to Butte-Silver Bow County – are protecting wetlands and riparian areas in local land use planning regulations. A comprehensive chart includes links to adopted regulations and policies from throughout Montana.

VIDEO: Stories and Pictures Explain Stream Protection:

This VIDEO of a Montana family can be used by citizens and local governments to illustrate the reasons stream setbacks should be adopted. We also have collected photographs for educational programs.

If you have any Montana pictures you want to share, please contact Janet Ellis at Montana Audubon (443-3949 or [email protected]).

Stream Setbacks: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions:

This series of fact sheets contains some of the “frequently asked questions” raised by opponents and supporters of local government stream and wetland protection measures, from private property rights to how stream setbacks differ from other regulations.

Lessons Learned from Flathead and Missoula Counties:

In 2007, both Flathead and Missoula Counties undertook slightly different processes to adopt stream protection measures at the county level. This report documents the “lessons learned” by both local governments, with suggestions on running a land use planning campaign. Download the report and appendicies:

Stream Setbacks, Public Health and Safety:

As requested by a Ravalli County Commissioner, we developed a handout outlining the benefits that stream setbacks have for public health and safety: Protecting People, Property, and Montana’s Streams and Rivers, with Specific Information on Ravalli County, Montana. Download a copy of Protecting People, Property, and Montana’s Streams and Rivers, with Specific Information on Ravalli County, Montana.

Download Here

Learning to Go with the Flow: Streams and Bank Stabilization:

Streambank stabilization projects have a cumulative impact on waterways. This eight-page brochure describes all the common bank stabilization structures that are used in river projects. It includes descriptions of the function, materials used, and cost of each structure, as well as illustrations.

Sale of Russian Olive Prohibited:

Russian Olive is a destructive, exotic tree that displaces native wildlife and vegetation. The commercial sale of this species is prohibited in the state of Montana.

The silver color of Russian olive makes it easy to spot on the landscape

Montana Audubon depends on your financial support


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  • Montana Audubon
    P.O. Box 595
    Helena, MT 59624

    [email protected]

  • Phone: (406) 443-3949
  • Fax: (406) 443-7144

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