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Streamside Management Zones

Preserving water quality and habitat

A Streamside Management Zone (SMZ) is a mandated protection area around a stream, lake or other body of water that must be protected because of its special importance. The function of an SMZ is to preserve water quality and to provide for cold, clear, connected and complex native fish habitat.

The riparian area "green zone" around streams, lakes, reservoirs, springs and seeps represents that area that stays green long into the summer months. Riparian areas usually have wet soils and high water tables, and can be identified by the presence of water loving plants such as alder, willow, cottonwood, cedar and spruce.

Recognizing these areas and knowing their locations in the forest makes protecting water quality with an SMZ much easier.

More information is available in these publications.

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation
2705 Spurgin Road
Missoula, Montana 59801
(406) 542-4300

Extension Publications
Ask for Publication No. EB0096 (July 1991)
MSU Extension Forestry
UM School of Forestry
32 Campus Drive
Missoula, Montana 59812
(406) 243-2773