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Case Summary Citation

2013 MT 234, 371 Mont. 303, 307 P.3d 317.

Abstract

On appeal from the Park County District Court, the Montana Supreme Court upheld the Park Conservation District’s designation of a channel of the Yellowstone River near the City of Livingston as part of the natural course of the river as reasonable and worthy of judicial deference, even though the record demonstrated that the channel had been continuously used as an irrigation conveyance system and local parties had historically referenced the stream with inconsistent characterizations. Looking ahead, this decision illustrates the Court’s strong deference to the resolutions and statutory interpretations of the state’s local conservation districts. To a lesser degree, the Court’s acceptance of the analytic framework used in determining the stream’s classification could potentially broaden the scope of the statute’s application, allowing more irrigation conveyance systems to fall within its purview.

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