Though the Greater Sage Grouse did not receive protection under the Endangered Species Act in September, we have great news to report:
on November 16th, the Montana Land Board (Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, State Auditor, and Superintendent of the Office of Public Instruction) unanimously voted on a provision to prohibit the break-up, or “sodbusting” of native sagebrush within sage-grouse habitat on state lands. Large-scale removal of sagebrush was also prohibited. The conservation implications of this decision are enormous.
With these two new provisions enacted, Montana is well poised to support Greater Sage-Grouse conservation on state lands; across its range, sodbusting is one of the main threats that grouse face.
This Land Board action helps implement Governor Bullock’s September 2015 Executive Order on sage-grouse. This provision protects about 2.4 million acres in Montana, representing about half of our state lands.