“Ditch Bill” Makes a Ripple in Hearing

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Whether due a case of mistaken identity or not, Montana House Bill 309 brought sportsmen out of the woodwork Tuesday as they testified against a bill that they believe will threaten their stream access rights.  The bill before the Senate Agriculture, Livestock & Irrigation Committee has already passed the House on a 57-43 vote.  The Senate committee still has to vote on the bill before it would go in front of the Senate.

John Youngberg with the Montana Farm Bureau spoke to us from Helena Wednesday morning.  He explained that the bill stems from the Mitchell Ditch court decision that gave public access to a diversion ditch built in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s.

John gave background on that Mitchell Ditch decicion.

Stemming from that decision, he explained that HB 309 was developed to clarify what a ditch is and does not aim to limit stream access.


John says busloads of sportsmen were there to testify but that most of the testimony had very little to do with the bill and were focused solely on stream access.  He added that amendments may come to appease those concerns.

CLICK HERE to read the full text of Jeff Welborn’s House Bill 309.

© Northern Ag Network 2011

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