(1) Applications for program funding will be reviewed in March and September of each year. Applications reviewed at each time will be those complete applications received before March 1 or before September 1, respectively. A program committee will review, evaluate and approve projects for funding. The fisheries division administrator will give the final approval for project funding.
(2) Copies of completed applications received by the department will be sent to the appropriate conservation district for their review and comments. In order to have their comments considered the conservation district must return its comments to the department within 10 days after its monthly meeting following receipt of the application.
(3) The following criteria will be used for evaluating restoration projects:
(a) The degree to which the project optimizes benefits to public fisheries;
(b) The degree to which the project promotes benefits to other river resources, such as water quality, water quantity, wildlife habitat, non-fishing recreational values, property values, and aesthetic values;
(c) The level of in-kind services or cost sharing from other sources;
(d) The severity of the problem and need;
(e) The importance of the river or stream (determined from the Montana interagency data base) ;
(f) The level of local support for the project;
(g) The potential for statewide application (demonstration projects) ;
(h) Public fishing allowed on or near the project area.
(4) All applicants will receive written notification of action taken on their project proposal within 60 days after the submittal deadline.
(5) Projects will be approved for funding only if account money is available as requested to complete the project. There is no dollar limit on projects.
(6) Projects will be funded up to 100 percent of cost, except that installation of permanent irrigation diversions will be limited to 50 percent of the total cost. The project applicant's share may consist of "in-kind" services, other funding sources or both.
(7) When deemed necessary, the department will solicit outside technical design review of projects.
(8) No project conducted under the program may restrict or interfere with the exercise of any water right.