Floodplain Protection

Montana Floodplain and Floodway Management Act

In 1973, the Montana Legislature passed the Montana Floodplain and Floodway Management Act. The purpose of this law is to manage land in flood hazard areas to prevent damage to property, loss of life, and to reduce the cost of disaster relief.

The law requires a permit before undertaking any development in the floodplain. The floodplain area is described in the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Federal Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM). FIRMs can be obtained from county planning offices or at FEMA’s website’s Map Service Center.

Floodplain regulations are managed by the counties and Floodplain Permit applications are available from the floodplain administrator in the county’s planning department:

  • Flathead County Planning & Zoning: 728-5980
  • Lake County Planning: 883-7235

Montana Floodplain Management Program

The Montana Floodplain Management Program, administered by the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC), offers programs to help local governments monitor and regulate floodplain development.