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Natural Resource Information System Statutes


(1)(a) There is a state library commission which is created in Title 22, chapter 1. (b) The composition, method of appointment, terms of office, compensation, reimbursement, and qualifications of commission members remain as prescribed by law. (2)(a) There is a natural resource data system advisory committee consisting of an employee of the environmental quality council, of the state library, and of each principal data source agency, appointed by the head of the respective state agency, and by the board of regents of higher education for the Montana university system. (b) The state library shall provide staff support to the committee, within the limits of the library's available resources.

[Natural Resource Information System] General

90-15-101. PURPOSE.

It is the purpose of this chapter to establish a planning framework for the development of a natural resource information system, to implement the system, and to establish an ongoing Montana natural heritage program.

90-15-102. DEFINITIONS.

As used in this chapter, the following definitions apply: (1) "Committee" means the natural resource data system advisory committee created by 2-15-1514. (2) "Library" means the state library provided for in 22-1- 201. (3) "Natural heritage program" means a program of information acquisition, storage, and retrieval for data relating to the flora, fauna, and biological community types of Montana. (4) "Principal data source agencies" means any of the following state agencies: the department of natural resources and conservation; the department of fish, wildlife, and parks; the department of environmental quality; the department of agriculture; the department of transportation; the state historical society; and the Montana university system.

90-15-103. FUNDING.

The library and each principal data source agency may apply for and may receive funding from private and public sources for the purposes of this chapter.

[Natural Resource Information System] Advisory Committee


The committee shall examine the following matters and make recommendations to the library concerning: (1) criteria for the categories and types of data to be collected for a natural resource information system; (2) criteria for the format of data collection; (3) identification of existing sources of relevant data in the public sector; (4) identification of data acquisition, storage, and retrieval methodologies that are economical and efficient, that minimize or eliminate the duplication of data bases, and that utilize computer networking; (5) probable costs to agencies furnishing required data and probable costs of managing the data; (6) probable benefits to be realized by the establishment of a natural resource information system; (7) operation of the Montana natural heritage program; and (8) other items the committee considers of importance to the establishment of a natural resource information system.


The library shall provide staff support to the committee, within the limits of the library's available resources.


(1) Committee members, while engaged in committee business, are entitled to be reimbursed for travel expenses as provided for in 2-18-501 through 2-18-503. These expenses shall be borne by the agency employing the member. Each member serves at the pleasure of the respective appointing authority. (2) The committee shall establish its own format for the conduct of meetings.

Information System


(1) The library, in consultation with the committee, shall establish a planning framework for the implementation of a natural resource information system and shall begin implementation of the plan. This system is to be a comprehensive program for the acquisition, storage, and retrieval of existing data relating to the natural resources of Montana. (2) The library shall give attention to the factors listed in 90-15-201 and shall prepare any legislation necessary to implement the system. (3) It is not intended that the system shall require fieldwork to produce data. The system is intended to facilitate the management of data collected by state agencies in the normal course of their operations.


(1) There is a Montana natural heritage program to be operated by the library. In order to establish the program, the library may contract with an independent contractor or may employ necessary staff. In order to minimize costs, the library or other state agencies may make available state resources and facilities to an independent contractor as part of a contract for services. (2) The Montana natural heritage program shall be designed to be compatible with similar programs in other states. This program is to be an initial step in the formulation of the comprehensive natural resource information system referred to in 90-15-301 and is to be considered a part of the system.


(1) State agencies shall cooperate with the library and the committee in the planning of the natural resource information system. (2) Within the limits of available resources, state agencies shall provide data requested by the library for purposes of the natural resource information system and the Montana natural heritage program. If an agency does not possess requested data or is unable to locate requested data, the agency shall inform the library. It is not necessary for an agency to conduct fieldwork or literature searches to obtain requested data.


(1) Except as provided in subsection (3), the library shall make information from the natural resource information system available to local, state, and federal agencies and to the general public. (2) The library may establish a fee system for information requests in order to cover the costs of providing requested information. (3) If necessary, the library shall establish procedures to protect confidential information in the possession of state agencies.


(1) There is a Montana water information system, to be operated within the natural resource information system referred to in 90-15-301 and that is to be considered a part of the system.  (2)  The Montana water information system shall make available and readily accessible, in a usable format, to state agencies and other interested persons, information on the state's water resources, out-of-state water resources that affect the state, existing and potential uses, and the existing and potential demand.

Library Records Confidentiality Act


  • (1) No person may release or disclose a library record or portion of a library record to any person except in response to:
    • (a) a written request of the person identified in that record, according to procedures and forms giving written consent as determined by the library; or
    • (b) an order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction, upon a finding that the disclosure of such record is necessary because the merits of public disclosure clearly exceed the demand for individual privacy.
  • (2) A library is not prevented from publishing or making available to the public reasonable statistical reports regarding library registration and book circulation if those reports are presented so that no individual is identified therein.
  • (3) Library records may be disclosed to the extent necessary to return overdue or stolen materials or collect fines.