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(1) Vegetation must be reestablished in accordance with 82-4-233 (1) , (2) , (3) , and (5) , MCA, as follows:

(a) Sections 82-4-233 (1) , (2) , and (3) , MCA, state:  "(1) The operator shall establish on regraded areas and on all other disturbed areas, except water areas, surface areas of roads, and other constructed features approved as part of the postmining land use, a vegetative cover that is in accordance with the approved permit and reclamation plan and that is:

"(a) diverse, effective, and permanent;

"(b) composed of species native to the area or of introduced species when desirable and necessary to achieve the postmining land use and when approved by the department;

"(c) at least equal in extent of cover to the natural vegetation of the area; and

"(d) capable of stabilizing the soil surface in order to control erosion to the extent appropriate for the approved postmining land use.

"(2) The reestablished plant species must:

"(a) be compatible with the approved postmining land use;

"(b) have the same seasonal growth characteristics as the original vegetation;

"(c) be capable of self-regeneration and plant succession;

"(d) be compatible with the plant and animal species of the area; and

"(e) meet the requirements of applicable seed, poisonous and noxious plant, and introduced species laws or regulations.

"(3) Reestablished vegetation must be appropriate to the postmining land use so that when the postmining land use is:

"(a) cropland, the requirements of subsections (1) (a) , (1) (c) , (2) (b) , and (2) (c) are not applicable;

"(b) pastureland or grazing land, reestablished vegetation must have use for grazing by domestic livestock at least comparable to premining conditions or enhanced when practicable;

"(c) fish and wildlife habitat, forestry, or recreation, trees and shrubs must be planted to achieve appropriate stocking rates."

(b) Section 82-4-233 (5) , MCA, states: "For land that was mined, disturbed, or redisturbed after May 2, 1978, and that was seeded prior to January 1, 1984, using a seed mix that was approved by the department and on which the reclaimed vegetation otherwise meets the requirements of subsections (1) and (2) and applicable state and federal seed and vegetation laws and rules, introduced species are considered desirable and necessary to achieve the postmining land use and may compose a major or dominant component of the reclaimed vegetation."

(2) For areas designated prime farmland, the requirements of ARM 17.24.811 and 17.24.815 must be met.

(3) The department shall determine cover, planting, and stocking specifications either on a programmatic basis or for each operation based on local and regional conditions after consultation with and approval by:

(a) the department of fish, wildlife, and parks for reclamation to land uses involving fish and wildlife habitat; and

(b) the department of natural resources and conservation for reclamation to land uses involving forestry.

History: 82-4-204, MCA; IMP, 82-4-233, 82-4-235, MCA; NEW, 1980 MAR p. 725, Eff. 4/1/80; AMD, 1989 MAR p. 30, Eff. 1/13/89; AMD, 1990 MAR p. 934, Eff. 5/18/90; AMD, 1994 MAR p. 2957, Eff. 11/11/94; TRANS, from DSL, 1996 MAR p. 3042; AMD, 1999 MAR p. 811, Eff. 4/23/99; AMD, 2004 MAR p. 2548, Eff. 10/22/04.

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