36.11.421 ROAD MANAGEMENT
(1) The department shall plan transportation systems for the minimum number of road miles.
(a) The department shall only build roads that are necessary for current and near-term management objectives, as consistent with the other forest management rules.
(b) The department shall evaluate and use alternative yarding systems that do not require roads whenever possible.
(2) The department shall conduct transportation planning as part of landscape-level evaluations. The department shall also conduct an evaluation of existing and possible future transportation systems prior to road location and design. When planning transportation, the department shall consider:
(a) the relationship of access routes and road systems on adjacent sections, regardless of ownership. Managers shall plan systems cooperatively with adjacent landowners whenever practicable to minimize road construction.
(b) planning road systems cooperatively with adjacent landowners whenever practicable to minimize road construction.
(c) existing and probable future management needs of the tributary area, such as:
(i) coordination of department needs with adjacent ownership needs;
(ii) public access;
(iii) logging system capabilities;
(iv) forest improvement activities;
(v) fire protection; and
(vi) wildlife habitat protection.
(d) value(s) of RESOURCES being accessed for the proposed project as well as RESOURCES to be accessed from future road construction, road use or extension of transportation system.
(3) When planning the location, design, construction, and maintenance of all roads, the department shall:
(a) comply with BMP as necessary to avoid unacceptable adverse impacts or as funding is available to implement improvements to existing roads;
(b) build roads to the minimum standard necessary to best meet current and future management needs and objectives;
(c) manage roads to minimize maintenance;
(d) relocate existing roads if reconstruction, maintenance and/or use of existing roads would produce greater undesirable impacts than new construction; and
(e) use existing roads in SMZ only if potential water quality impacts can be adequately mitigated. The department shall primarily consider economic and watershed implications of relocating roads outside the SMZ.
(4) The department shall write contract specifications and administer construction projects to ensure roads are built as designed and to meet resource protection requirements.
(5) The department shall maintain roads commensurate with expected road use and appropriate resource protection.
(6) The department shall also maintain drainage structures and other resource protection measures on both restricted and open roads.
(7) The department shall include adequate maintenance requirements, proportional to road use, in all agreements for granting and acquiring rights-of-way, and the requirements shall be enforced during the administration of those agreements.
(8) The department shall plan road density to satisfy project level objectives, landscape-level plans and other forest management rules.
(9) The department shall determine which roads to restrict, abandon, or reclaim during project level analysis.
(10) The department shall consider restricting or reclaiming roads accessible to motorized vehicles:
(a) that are non-essential to near-term future management plans; or
(b) where unrestricted access would cause excessive resource damage.
(11) The department shall consider for reclamation roads that are deemed non-essential. The department shall leave reclaimed roads in a condition that provides adequate drainage and stabilization, while leaving intact the road prism and capital investment needed to construct that road.
(12) The department shall assess road maintenance needs by inspecting conditions on both open and restricted roads as determined by the inventory schedule described in the department HCP. The department shall then prioritize maintenance operations considering the results of the inspections and the resource value in the watershed as determined by the department HCP.
(13) The department shall inspect existing road systems during the planning and review of proposed timber sales and other projects. The inspections are intended to provide information used for:
(a) road planning;
(b) construction and maintenance; and
(c) giving an opportunity for the correction of problem areas by incorporating corrective measures into planned projects.
(14) The department shall inspect road closure structures, such as gates and earth berms, as part of ongoing administrative duties and in response to notice of ineffective road closures received from the public. The department shall repair or modify ineffective closures or consider alternative methods of closure. Repairs would be a high priority when allocating time and budget.
History: 77-1-202, 77-1-209, 77-5-201, 77-5-204, MCA; IMP, 77-5-116, 77-5-204, 77-5-206, 77-5-207, MCA; NEW, 2003 MAR p. 397, Eff. 3/14/03; AMD, 2020 MAR p. 2239, Eff. 12/12/20.