Montana Public Lands Council Update

by Jay Bodner, MSGA Natural Resource Director

Due to your support, the Montana Public Lands Council (MPLC) has been active this past year defending your grazing rights on federal lands. It is only through your valuable contributions that our organization has been successful at protecting your rights at the state and national levels.

This summer, MPLC collected and submitted data to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to prevent sage grouse from being listed under the Endangered Species Act and intervened in the lawsuit trying to overturn the delisting of the grizzly bear in the Yellowstone area.

In addition to watching state and national issues, this summer marked the first annual MPLC/Undaunted Stewardship Summer Range Tour. This three-day seminar and tour brought together ranchers, agency officials, conservationists, and Montana’s mainstream media representatives to highlight the importance of the ranching industry on the environment and economy. MPLC felt this tour was very successful in emphasizing the role the ranching community plays in federal land management.

With these successes, also come some challenges. In September, The Western Watersheds Project opened an office in Missoula, Mont. and shortly after, filed protests on two watershed assessments in Southwest Montana. This group has also filed as an interested party in six BLM offices across the state. This group’s mission is to remove livestock from federal lands and it will take a united effort to protect our future. Your help is greatly needed in this effort and a contribution to the MPLC Legal Fund will ensure our success.

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