Central Montana Resource Council

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Central Montana Resource Council

Member Jo Shipman writes on the “listening boards” for CMRC’s kickoff event in 2013.


We plan to protect water quality and quantity from corporate privatization, over-withdrawal, and degradation and to research and develop local food production and distribution and improve the self-sufficiency of Lewistown.


Central Montana Resource Council meets on the third Wednesday of the month in the basement meeting room of the Fergus County Sheriff’s Department (121 8th Ave. S., Lewistown).

Please visit our events calendar for all Northern Plains and local groups (affiliates) events and meetings.

Water Rights seminar held in Lewistown Jan. 14

Nearly 100 citizens, county officials, and Department of Natural Resources Conservation (DNRC) staff squeezed into the Community Center in Lewistown Jan. 14 for a Water Rights seminar. Despite snowy weather, the seminar drew attendees from Great Falls, Judith Gap, Martinsdale, Lavina, as well as communities closer to Lewistown.

Speaker Scott Irvin, manager of DNRC’s Lewistown Water Resources Regional Office, provided historical perspective on water rights law; information on leasing, transfer and sale of rights; and what constitutes abandonment, commonly known as “use it or lose it.” Exempt water rights were discussed, along with reasons why landowners may want to consider filing now to secure those rights. “Exempt rights are those uses of water that existed prior to July 1, 1973, for livestock and individual purposes, based upon instream flow or groundwater sources, that were not previously filed in the adjudication,” said Irvin.

MSU Fergus Extension agent and event MC Darren Crawford introduces sponsor Montana Farmers Association membership director Justin Loch, and addresses capacity audience Jan. 14 in Lewistown.

MSU Fergus Extension agent and event emcee Darren Crawford introduces Montana Farmers Association Membership Director Justin Lochat at the Jan. 14 water rights seminar in Lewistown.

Irvin also outlined the ongoing adjudication process in Montana, the landowners’ role and possible timelines for basin-exempt right filings and the next stages of the decree process. “The end result of adjudication is a more accurate picture of water use and enforceable water rights,” said Irvin. The Lewistown DNRC Water Resources office provides services for residents of eight central Montana counties.

“We were thrilled by last night’s turnout, that folks would travel up to 170 miles round trip to attend. Each time these events are held, we get callers asking if we’ll be repeating the seminar elsewhere in the state. It confirms we’re focusing on topics of critical interest,” said Laurie Lohrer, Chair of Central Montana Resource Council. “Our thanks to all those who braved the snow to attend, speaker Scott Irvin and the DNRC Water Resources staff, Darren Crawford – emcee and MSU agent, our sponsors MSU Fergus Extension and the Montana Farmers Union, and those that helped with planning and and set up.”

This is the fourth in a series of community seminars presented by Central Montana Resource Council (CMRC), a Baseline Water Testing seminar in January 2014, a forum on Mineral Rights in January 2015, and a Clean Energy seminar in October 2015. All four have been co-sponsored by MSU Fergus Extension, with Montana Farmers Union coming on board to co-sponsor the two most recent.

For more information on getting involved with CMRC call Laurie at 538-5187. For more information on water rights, contact the Lewistown DNRC Water Resources office at 406-538-7459.

About Us

Download Oil and Gas Leases in
the Judith River Basin Map

Water Rights

Oil and Gas Leases in the Judith River Basin

Formed in 2013, Central Montana Resource Council is one of Northern Plains’ newest affiliates. CMRC is a  community organization dedicated to sustaining the quality of our water, land, and food for this and future generations.

By joining you can:

  • Help us identify and work on issues of concern in our community;
  • Receive reliable and timely information through newsletters, e-mail alerts, factsheets, reports, and more;
  • Join us in Helena during the Montana Legislature to advocate for legislation that protects our clean air and water, supports family farms and ranches, and encourages responsible development.
220 South 27th Street, Suite A
Billings, Montana 59101
(406) 248-1154