Montana Audubon

Montana Audubon works at the local, state and national policy levels to protect our natural heritage.

Protect the Missouri Breaks Monument from Trump Administration Assault

Please respond by July 10 – do it TODAY!

Update from July 5th 2017: Your input matters! Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was quoted Tuesday, June 27 as saying: “It is my likely recommendation to leave the Missouri breaks as is.” However, because this commitment only says he will “likely” make a ‘no change’ recommendation, it is still important to make your voice heard.

Our original alert, which still stands:

For more than 100 years, presidents of both parties have protected sensitive habitat and historic sites as national monuments. Now, a new presidential executive order (Executive Order 13792) has placed millions of acres of these iconic lands and waters at risk by threatening to eliminate or shrink 27 National Monuments targeted for review. This review includes the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument (UMRBNM), which is the only monument in Montana under review. Specifically:

  • The review covers monuments established since January 1, 1996 that are generally more than 100,000 acres in size. Under review are 22 monuments in 11 states covering more than 11 million acres; and five Marine National Monuments covering 218 million acres. For a list of reviewed monuments, click HERE.
  • These monuments are a legacy of Teddy Roosevelt. He and fifteen subsequent presidents—of both parties—have recognized the need and value of protecting these public lands using the Antiquities Act.
  • The UMRBNM was established by President Clinton in 2001. It protects almost 375,000 acres and 149 miles of river in Blaine, Chouteau, Fergus, and Phillips counties, Montana and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Your opinion matters! PLEASE take the time TODAY to send Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke comments to protect the Breaks!


Write Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke TODAY: Comments must be received by Monday, July 10, 2017.  There are two easy ways to send your comments:


To: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Monument Review, MS-1530, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 20240

Dear Interior Secretary Zinke,

I am writing regarding the review of national monuments under Executive Order 13792, and asking you to reject recommending any changes to these iconic public lands. In particular as a Montanan, I want to take this time to comment on the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument (UMRBNM):

  • I support the current boundaries of the UMRBNM and don’t want to see its boundaries changed.
  • The UMRBNM was established after much public comment by President Bill Clinton; support of the monument continues today, with a 2017 poll conducted by Colorado College showed that 75% of Montanans support the monument.
  • The UMRBNM protects “a spectacular array of biological, geological, and historical objects of interest.” I am especially interested in its protection of important wildlife and wildlife habitat, including habitat for 85 wildlife Species of Concern. Key habitats protected include riparian areas, sage-brush and prairie. In addition, I think it is important that the monument protects key aspects of Montana’s history (including a key portion of the Lewis & Clark trail).

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important issue. In conclusion, I urge you to uphold the legacy of Teddy Roosevelt and maintain these monuments for current and future generations.


*Helpful Hint: Letters, whether print or email, are more effective if you alter the introductory sentence and/or personalize the letter in some way.

BLM photo.


The Missouri River Breaks National Monument was designated to protect “a spectacular array of biological, geological, and historical objects of interest.” The monument accomplishes this goal. Some of the biological and historical “objects of interest” are described below. Geologically, the monument showcases the river’s downcutting through a “layer-cake” of sandstone and shale, exposing some ten million years of geologic history. In addition, erosion has also exposed harder volcanic materials that filled cracks in the shales and sandstones.

The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument provides important

Mountain Plover. Photo by Bob Martinka.

habitat for many wildlife species, including Species of Concern (SOC). The UMRBNM is rich in wildlife and wildlife habitat. The BLM has documented the following species counts within the monument: 60 mammal species, 233 bird species, and 20 species of amphibians and reptiles. Most of these species dependent in one way or another upon the riparian zone. Of these, 19 mammal species, 58 bird species, and 8 species of reptile and amphibian species are Species of Concern in the state of Montana. For a complete list of SOC species, click HERE.

The Missouri River Breaks National Monument protects important Montana historical sites. The monument provides protection to thousands of cultural and historic objects. Among these are the 149-mile Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River, the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail (Lewis and Clark spent three weeks, from May 24 through June 13, 1805, exploring this river segment), and the Nez Perce National Historic Trail. The confluence of the Judith and Missouri Rivers was the setting for two important peace councils: 1) in 1846, Catholic missionaries celebrated Mass for the Flathead and Blackfeet tribes to pacify relations between these traditional enemies; and 2) in 1855, the Washington Territorial Governor conducted a treaty council with the Blackfeet, Flathead, Gros Ventre and Nez Perce (this treaty established boundaries and provided for railroads, roads, telegraph lines and military post access across what is now northern Montana).

BLM photo.

Establishment of the Missouri River Breaks National Monument had significant public input—and has public support today. President Clinton designated the UMRBNM after two years of public comment and meetings, including a large coalition of entities who worked to protect this area: local communities, the agriculture industry, recreation users, conservation groups, elected officials, and more. In addition, a 2017 poll conducted by Colorado College showed that three-quarters of Montanans support the monuments, as well as other existing monuments.

As part of our River Initiative, Montana Audubon works to protect our state’s rivers and streams.

For More Information:

Please send your comments so they are received by Monday, July 10, 2017!

Montana Geographic Society photo.

Montana Audubon depends on your financial support

Another Big Win for Conservation!

Landmark Ruling for Migratory Bird Treaty Act After years of making our voices heard, conservationists…

Virtual Raptor Identification Workshops

Montana Audubon is migrating to online Raptor Identification Workshops this September! Mark your calendars for…

View All Articles

Join Our Online Network

By joining our online network, you will receive timely conservation updates, action alerts, legislative news, our monthly eNews, information about upcoming events and more.

Make an Online Donation & Support Our Efforts

Montana Audubon depends on your financial support to continue our ambitious conservation work around the state.

Take Action

Take action on timely conservation issues Montana Audubon is engaged with. Your help will protect Montana’s birds and other wildlife into the future.

Join Our Online Network

Get updated on the latest Audubon programs and initiatives

Montana Audubon - © Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved