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Community Pond Program


To enhance fishing opportunities in or near Montana communities by providing funding that may be used to construct or improve public fishing ponds. Preference will be given to projects that create or enhance opportunities for youth/family angling and youth/family angler education.


State agencies, cities, counties, angler groups, civic organizations, or other community-based organizations are eligible to sponsor a project. Sponsors must be working with a representative of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks usually a fisheries biologist.

The project sponsor is responsible for providing the property or access to the property where the project is located. Projects may be located on private property but public fishing access must be guaranteed through easements or binding written agreements.

Use of Funds

Community pond program funding may be used for costs of design, construction, repair, or enhancement of ponds for which public angling is a primary purpose. Improvements that enhance handicapped access or safety may also be funded. Funds may be used only for those portions of the project that are necessary to create or enhance angling opportunity. Funds may not be used for acquisition of property. Project sponsors are responsible for routine maintenance of the completed project.

Matching Funds Required

Applicants must provide a minimum of 30% of the costs associated with the project. In-kind contributions such as heavy equipment time, construction materials, labor, engineering services, etc. may be used as match.


Application forms are available from Fish, Wildlife and Parks offices located in Kalispell, Missoula, Bozeman, Great Falls, Billings, Glasgow, Miles City, and Helena. Applications may be submitted at any time but are reviewed in February of each year. Complete applications must be submitted on or before February 1 to be considered for the ensuing 12 months. Applications must be sent to the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Fisheries Division, Habitat Protection Bureau, 1420 6th Avenue East, Helena, MT 596200701. Clearly detailed conceptual project plans as well as a detailed itemized budget of project expenses must be submitted with each application. Incomplete applications will not be considered for funding. Late applications will be considered during the following funding cycle.

Project Selection

A review team consisting of at least three Fisheries Division representatives will determine which projects will be funded. Decisions will be based on the degree to which proposals meet program objectives. Cost sharing, cost effectiveness, and availability of funding will also be determining factors. Projects may be funded wholly, partially, or not at all. Applicants will be notified of funding decision by March 1.

Project Administration

Sponsors of approved projects must enter into a written agreement with FWP. Funds granted for projects must be used only for purposes described in the final project agreement. Itemized invoices of expenses approved by the sponsor must be submitted to FWP for payment. Project expenses incurred prior to the date on the signed project agreement are not eligible for reimbursement. Sponsors must also keep records of all expenditures of matching funds as well as in-kind contributions and must meet state procurement requirements. Photographic records of project construction must be kept and submitted for inclusion in the project files.

Montana Environmental Policy Act

Please note that sponsors of projects that are selected for funding will be required to adhere to the Montana Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). Projects that have the potential to affect the human or physical environment, which includes most projects, will require completion of a MEPA environmental checklist or preparation of an Environmental Assessment or Environmental Impact Statement. FWP will provide successful applicants with examples of MEPA documents for projects similar to theirs. As part of the MEPA review, sponsors will also be required to provide State Historic Preservation Office clearance for the project.

Environmental Permits and Other Requirements

Finally, sponsors must secure all permits required from local, state, and federal regulatory agencies. For pond projects this typically includes a 404 permit from the Army Corps of Engineers and a water use permit from the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Ponds may not be located within the 100-yr floodplain nor can they impact jurisdictional wetlands.