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(1) Eligible projects that have been approved by the review panel will be reviewed, evaluated and ranked by a committee that includes at least two department personnel with a background in fishery biology and an understanding of the habitat requirements of fish and one member of the review panel.

(2) The department will submit a list of recommended projects to the commission for consideration at public hearings conducted as part of regularly scheduled commission meetings. The commission will grant final approval for project funding.

(3) The department and the commission will use the following criteria to evaluate and prioritize projects:

(a) the degree to which the project optimizes public benefits to wild fisheries;

(b) whether the project benefits a native fish species with emphasis on species of special concern;

(c) the importance of the river or stream (determined from the Montana interagency database -- a ranking of the habitat and species value of stream reaches) ;

(d) the expected benefits of the project relative to cost;

(e) the long-term effectiveness of the restoration;

(f) the level of in-kind services or cost-sharing from other sources.

(4) All applicants will receive written notification of action taken on their project proposals after the commission has made a final decision.

(5) Projects will be approved for funding only if account money is available as requested to complete the projects. Each approved project sponsor must enter into a written agreement with the department on a form prepared by the department.

(6) When deemed necessary, the department will solicit outside technical design review of projects.

(7) No project completed under this program may restrict or interfere with any water rights or property rights of landowners adjacent to projects.

(8) Funds from this account may not be used to acquire any interest in land.

History: Sec. 87-1-201, 87-1-301 MCA; IMP, Sec. 87-1-272, 87-1-273 MCA; NEW, 1996 MAR p. 153, Eff. 1/12/96.

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