On Tuesday, September 22, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services announced that the greater sage grouse would not be listed as an endangered species. This is a significant accomplishment following extensive work by officials, industry and conservation groups in 11 states who have worked to form plans for conservation of the bird’s habitat.
Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell made the announcement on Tuesday via video. Click here to watch and read her statement.
Montana Stockgrowers Association, Montana Public Lands Council and Montana Association of State Grazing Districts are supportive of the recent decision. Even with sage grouse not listed under ESA, our organizations will still be working on this issue on our members’ behalf, at both the state and federal level.
At the state level, Montana has developed state legislation and a state plan, which will be operational by January 1, 2016. In order to accomplish this accelerated time schedule, we will be participating in all facets of the program, such as:
- Attendance at the Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team (MSGOT) meetings
- Further developing program rules for mitigation and habitat exchanges
- Development of landowner incentives
The MSGOT will hold two more meeting this fall, with the next being November 17 in Helena. Click here to learn more about Montana Sage Grouse Management.
In addition to the state plan development, our organizations will be also working on the federal level. On the federal side, BLM has just released their Resource Management Plans (RMP) for the state. These plans provide the direction for public land and federal minerals managed by the Bureau of Land Management and provide a framework for the future management direction for the planning area.
With the release of these RMPs, we will be:
- Reviewing these plans as it relates to impacts to livestock grazing
- Work with the agency to ensure livestock grazing is not impacted by sage grouse decisions
- Clarify specific criteria and requirements within the document and how they will impacting livestock producers.
Montana’s leadership provided statements regarding the DOI and USFWS announcement on Tuesday:
Our organizations also request input from our members on areas of possible concerns or program areas where livestock producers can receive some benefit. Please contact the MSGA office if you have any further questions. Stay tuned to MSGA News updates and emails for more information as it becomes available.