FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 29, 2015
Dave Parker, Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9844
Mike Wessler, Deputy Communications Director, Governor’s Office, 444-9725
Governor Bullock Submits Comments To
Bureau Of Land Management On Proposed Sage Grouse Management Plans
Expresses Disappointment that Federal Plans Go Farther Than Necessary To Protect The Sage Grouse
HELENA, MT – Governor Steve Bullock today released the comments he submitted to Jamie Connell, the Montana state director of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), on the five proposed resource management plans that cover BLM lands in Montana as they pertain to sage grouse conservation efforts. In the letter, Bullock made it clear that he is disappointed the BLM has thus far proposed to enact stricter measures in Montana than those already approved in Wyoming, which has a plan very similar to Montana’s.
Bullock strongly believes that keeping management of the sage grouse in state hands, as opposed to the hands of the federal government, is the best way to protect the sage grouse, Montanans’ way of life, and Montana’s strong economy.
In February, 2013, Bullock created the Greater Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Advisory Council, which brought stakeholders and experts together in a public process to recommend conservation measures to address the primary and secondary threats to the sage grouse.
After receiving recommendations from the advisory council, in September 2014 Bullock issued an Executive Order creating the Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program and setting forth the state’s Conservation Strategy for conservation, regulatory protection, and management of sage grouse in Montana.
During the 2015 legislative session, the Montana Sage Grouse Stewardship Act was passed, creating the Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team and the Montana Sage Grouse Stewardship Fund, including a $10 million appropriation for conservation and mitigation projects that benefit sage grouse habitat.
The Executive Order and the Montana program are constructed around the principles that:
- Sage grouse habitat conservation and many land uses are compatible with proper management; and
- Management that best protects sage grouse will operate across all lands, regardless of ownership.
With very few exceptions in Montana, the core areas are lands that are mixed ownership, including up to seventy percent privately held or state trust lands.
A copy of Bullock’s letter to the BLM is attached.