MSGA responds to sage grouse decision

Helena, Mont. – Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the greater sage grouse a “warranted but precluded” species in regards to the Endangered Species Act. The sage grouse will be placed on the “candidate species” list which means the status of the sage grouse will be reviewed each year.

“We have a healthy sage grouse population in Montana,” said Jay Bodner, Natural Resource Director for the Montana Stockgrowers Association. “One of the reasons for this is the well-managed grazing and conservation efforts of Montana’s family ranchers on both private and federal land.”

Vicki Olson, a director of the Montana Public Lands Council, listed many specific efforts undertaken by Montana ranching families to protect sage grouse, include monitoring of rangeland conditions and sage grouse populations, grazing management plans, fence flagging, water trough escape ramps and water development.

“Many ranchers that graze in sage grouse habitat include rotations in their grazing management plans to minimize their impact and provide the right vegetation structure favored by sage grouse and other grassland birds for their habitat,” Olson said.

While this decision may change the way federal land management agencies make land use decisions, George Trischman, chairman of the Montana Public Lands Council, said it will not affect the conservation efforts of Montana ranchers.

“Family ranchers here in Montana were making efforts to protect healthy sage grouse populations before this decision and they will continue those efforts regardless of this or any future decision,” Trischman said.

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