Local recruitment: New Appropriates Program Manager

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation

Helena, MT, USA 🇺🇸


Work Unit Overview: 

The Water Right Bureau administers the Montana Water Use Act under Title 85, Chapter 2, Montana Codes Annotated.  This act provides for acquiring new water rights and changing existing water rights (the New Appropriations Program); and a centralized water right record system.  Water rights administration activities include issuing and processing Provisional Water Use Permits, Interim Permits, Temporary Permits, Water Reservations, Notice of Completion of Groundwater Developments, Petitions for Basin Closure, Petitions for Controlled Groundwater Area, and Authorizations to Change Water Rights some involving leasing water rights for temporary changes and in stream flow.  The Bureau is responsi­ble for formulat­ing policy to address water use violations and provides water rights direction and support to the Division’s eight regional offices.

Job Overview: 

The New Appropriations Program Manager is responsible for providing statewide direction and consistency within the program.  This includes: evaluation, development, and implementation of new guidelines, procedures, administrative rules, and legislation; review of proposed and administration of existing basin closures, controlled ground water areas, water reservations and federal reserved water right compacts; development and coordination of  verification and certification activities;  representation of the new appropriations program to the public and other government entities; educational activities; and supervision of staff.

Essential Functions (Major Duties or Responsibilities):  These job functions are the essential duties of the position and are not all-inclusive of all the duties that may be assigned to the incumbent.

Evaluation, Development and Implementation of Procedures, Guidelines, Rules and Legislation                                                                                                                                          

  • Evaluate new appropriation procedures to determine if they effectively serve their purpose according to Montana statutes and rules through interviews, surveys and focus groups conducted with water right holders, potential water right applicants, water attorneys, division staff and other interested parties.  Work in concert with program staff, bureau chief, legal staff, deputy administrator, and division administrator to evaluate and prioritize statewide needs and issues focusing on program enhancement and consistency.
  • Maintain and enhance to the extent possible an effective communication structure and working relationships between regional offices and central division office staff.  Answers questions from staff and others about new appropriation program policies and procedures, environmental assessments, administrative rules, and statutes.  Assesses concerns and suggestions from agency management, legal staff, and regional office staff, evaluating their merit, practicality and urgency, and developing appropriate solutions.
  • Propose and implement solutions and corrective measures when deficiencies are identified including conducting training, revising procedural manuals, revising administrative rules, and proposing new legislation.  Create legislative exhibits and provide legislative testimony as needed.  Prepare legislatively required fiscal notes in concert with water rights bureau chief, financial, and other department staff.
  • Review and evaluate technical literature; identify research needs and methods and conduct research through knowledgeable persons and interested parties including water resources division staff, legal department staff, staff from other agencies in Montana and other states, water right holders, water attorneys and representatives of organizations interested in water rights.  
  • Conduct internal and external meetings in order to clearly define the problems, identify alternative solutions and seek comments on preferred solutions. Assess the long-range impacts and policy implications of alternative solutions.  Present alternative solutions and recommendations to decision-makers including the bureau chief and division administrator and in some cases the regional office managers, the director, legislators, and others.  Identify the most appropriate method to implement the recommended solution.
  • Develop administrative rules according to the Administrative Procedures Act and internal procedures, where appropriate. 
  • Develop and implement a work plan that includes an outreach component to ensure the successful implementation by regional staff of new guidelines, procedural manuals, administrative rules and statutes.
  • Develop and disseminate written documents and make oral presentations to explain the new procedures, rules or statutes in a clear and concise manner to audiences, including DNRC staff in the water right bureau, regional offices and other bureaus as appropriate, current and potential water right holders and organizations that represent them, and other interested parties.
  • Provides technical assistance and training to regional office and Water Rights Bureau staff in the interpretation, use and implementation of new and existing manuals, policies and approaches.  Conducts research to develop training course content, prepare training materials, and conduct or arrange for others to conduct training sessions. Develop and implement a training program to provide instruction to water right bureau and regional office staff regarding consistent implementation of new procedures, rules, and statutes.  
  • Monitor new appropriations workload and production in the water resources regional offices to ensure timely processing of applications.  Work with the deputy administrator to implement long and short-term solutions when backlogs occur.
  • Administer the water right ownership update process to ensure all aspects work as intended.  Coordinate with regional offices, adjudication bureau, and water court regarding creation and implementation of all ownership update forms and processes to ensure smooth transition for all water right updates, including splitting and severing, of all water right types and statuses.  Coordination of the ownership update process using Department of Revenue data. 
  • Revise and develop program forms, checklists and instructions.  Solicits suggestions from regional staff for form improvements, reviews suggestions, and develops the form revisions.   Works with graphic arts staff to develop forms and format.  There are approximately eighty-five forms/checklists/instruction sets associated with water right new appropriations.  Over time, this position works with the review, revision, and development of all of these items.
  • Coordinate with the database administrators and regional office staff to ensure proper data entry and processing in the water right information system.

Review Proposed and Administer Existing Basin Closures, Controlled Groundwater Areas, Federal Reserved Water Right Compacts, and Water Reservations

Basin Closure Petitions – Coordinates and oversees the processing of the petition and the administration of those petitions that are adopted.

  • Reviews and evaluates the petitions to determine if criteria required by statute and applicable administrative rules have been met. Evaluations may involve coordinating water availability studies by DNRC technical staff and reviewing the results of those studies; then making recommendations to the water right bureau chief and division administrator regarding the appropriate response to petitions.
  • Drafts proposed administrative rules, coordinates review and facilitates consensus on the content of proposed rules with division staff, DNRC legal staff and the department director.
  • Conducts meetings with petitioners to describe the proposed rules, explain the rule adoption process and answer questions.  Ensures the rules are adopted in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act.
  • Ensures compliance with basin closure rules and interpretation of specific requirements.

Controlled Groundwater Areas Petitions – Coordinate and oversee the processing of the petition and the administration of those petitions that are adopted.

  • Reviews and evaluates the validity of the petitions ensuring that they meet statutory and administrative rule requirements and coordinates a technical analysis by department hydrologists to determine the hydrologic basis for the petition. Provides testimony at the designation hearings based on relevant department experience and case histories.
  • Reviews complex technical orders delineating the hearing unit’s preliminary and final determinations sanctioning or rejecting the petitions.
  • Briefs the DNRC director, division administrator and other staff as needed regarding the proposed final rule prior to approval by the director.
  • Coordinates information dissemination about the order and its effect to water right holders, affected regional offices and any other interested or involved parties.

Federal Reserved Water Right Compacts

  • Assist reserved water right compact commission by reviewing draft compacts from a new appropriations program perspective.
  • Develops guidelines and procedures for water right administration under federal reserved water right compacts.
  • Prepares technical administrative rules for issuing and administering required state consumptive water rights.

Water Reservation Administration – Public entities may apply to reserve water for future public use.  This position provides information to the applicants, reviews applications against statutory criteria for approval, and assists in the administration and completion of any approved water reservations.

Personnel Management                                                                                   

  • Plan and assign work according to the individual’s job description, needs, abilities and desires.  Develop, monitor and implement work plans.  Review assigned work for compliance with quality, quantity, and other standards. Assist subordinates in solving complex aspects within their work assignments.
  • Conduct performance evaluations based on observable, measurable appraisal performance standards.  Implement and monitor corrective actions.
  • Develop position descriptions and lead the recruitment and selection of new employees. Establish evaluation criteria and questions for the structured interview process in screening applicants, participating in interviews, and recommending hiring.
  • Perform line supervision duties over the new appropriations staff by setting priorities, establishing procedures, and monitoring progress through meetings and consultations. Review work product both in process and upon completion.  Conduct staff meetings to make assignments, disseminate data, and coordinate projects.
  • Evaluate training needs, propose training programs, and provide direct on-the-job training as needed.


Position has direct supervision of 3 FTE, all New Appropriations Program Specialists

Position provides team leadership and oversight of work quality and consistency to over 30 FTE in the regional office system (regional managers, water resource specialists and hydrologists, compliance technicians) that perform new appropriation and ownership update work.

What are some benefits that you can expect from work at DNRC?

  • Paid Vacation, Sick Leave and Holidays
  • Health Coverage
  • Retirement Plans
  • Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) – Employment with the State of Montana may qualify you to receive student loan forgiveness under the PSLF. 


The DNRC may include the following factors in determining whether an applicant meets the qualifications of a position vacancy by: State of MT application form, cover letter, current resume, educational requirements, structured interview, a performance test, job-related reference checks, job-related work experience, job-related past and current performance.  


  • Resume 
  • Cover Letter
  • References

TIP:  When attaching your resume, cover letter and other material, you must mark the attachments as “relevant”

If you have any questions or would like to review the job description for this position, please email Becky Quick at [email protected]


Minimum Qualifications (Education and Experience):

  • Bachelor’s degree in a resource management, water resource management; administrative rules and water rights programs; water use practices; and field procedures; and irrigation and water managment practices.  
  • Three years of directly related work experience.
  • Two years of supervisory experience.

Other combinations of education or experience may be substituted.


  • The work requires extensive knowledge of the Montana Water Use Act, considerable knowledge of the principles and practices of program management, water resource management; administrative rules, and water rights programs; water use practices; and field procedures; and irrigation and water management practices.  Additionally requires working knowledge and experience in investigative methodologies; record keeping; data processing, surface and groundwater hydrology, survey methods and techniques; and research methods.
  • Requires working knowledge and experience in investigative methodologies; record keeping; data processing, surface and groundwater hydrology, survey methods and techniques; and research methods.

Special Information:  Candidates must be eligible to work in the United States.  A valid driver’s license is required with less than 12 conviction points in the most recent completed 36 months. 

Eligibility to Work: In accordance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act, the person selected must produce within three days of hire documents that show authorization to work in the United States. Examples of such documentation include a birth certificate or Social Security card along with a driver’s license or other picture I.D., or a U.S. passport, or a “green card”.

Applicant Pool Statement:  If another department vacancy occurs in this job title within six months, the same applicant pool may be used for the selection. Training Assignment:  This agency may use a training assignment. Employees in training assignments may be paid below the base pay established by the agency pay rules. Conditions of the training assignment will be stated in writing at the time of hire.  

Job:  Environmental Sciences 

Salary: $ 33.07 – 33.07  Hourly 

Benefits Package Eligibility:  Health Insurance, Paid Leave & Holidays, Retirement Plan  

Number of Openings:  1 

Employee Status:  Regular 

Schedule:  Full-Time 

Shift:  Day Job 

Travel:  Yes, 5 % of the Time  

Primary Location:  Helena 

   Agency:  Department of Natural Resources & Conservation 

Union:  000 – None 

Bargaining Unit:  000 – None  

Posting Date:  Sep 8, 2022, 4:59:14 PM 

Closing Date (based on your computer’s timezone):  Sep 30, 2022, 8:59:00 AM 

Required Application Materials:  Cover Letter, Resume, References  

Contact Name:  Becky Quick  |  Contact Email:  [email protected]  |  Contact Phone:  406-444-6673 

The State of Montana has a decentralized human resources (HR) system. Each agency is responsible for its own recruitment and selection. Anyone who needs a reasonable accommodation in the application or hiring process should contact the agency’s HR staff identified on the job listing or by dialing the Montana Relay at 711. Montana Job Service Offices also offer services including assistance with submitting an online application.

State government does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, childbirth or medical conditions related to pregnancy or childbirth, age, physical or mental disability, genetic information, marital status, creed, political beliefs or affiliation, veteran status, military service, retaliation, or any other factor not related to merit and qualifications of an employee or applicant.





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