Sage Grouse

A photo taken on March 28, 2016 of a Sage Grouse atop a snowy plain.
U.S. Forest Service

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A U.S. judge has dealt a setback to the Trump administration’s efforts to increase domestic oil and gas exploration.

Sean Claffey, coordinator for the Southwest Montana Sagebrush Partnership, walks past curl-leaf mountain mahogany in the sagebrush steppe on land managed by the DNRC near Dillon, Montana, May 12, 2020.
Rachel Cramer/Yellowstone Public Radio

 

Sagebrush grasslands in southwest Montana have been disappearing for decades, putting ranchers and wildlife in jeopardy. A project is aiming to reverse this trend and engage a local workforce left in limbo by the novel coronavirus.

Hundreds of veterans are calling on Congress to scrap a seemingly unrelated attachment to this year’s defense spending bill.

Currently the sage grouse is not listed under the Endangered Species Act. And a bill before Congress  would prevent that from happening anytime in the next decade.

In a flurry of lawsuits stretching across the West, conservation groups are accusing the federal government of failing to protect a rare bird: the sage grouse. This week, the groups involved in one of those lawsuits came to a legal truce.

From above, the northern Flathead Valley is a patchwork of yellow fields of canola, green tracts of grains and wandering curves of cerulean rivers. Heavily forested mountains erupt from the valley floor, some of them still scared by clear cut logging from decades ago.

"This area obviously has got multi-uses," says Bruce Gordon, a pilot for EcoFlight, a nonprofit based in Colorado that uses flyovers in small aircraft to advocate for protecting wildlands.

He’s in Whitefish this week to fly western governors over northwest Montana, to give them a visual as they talk this week about land management.

Zinke Calls For Review Of Sage Grouse Conservation Efforts

Jun 8, 2017
Jennifer Strickland, USFWS

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signed an order to review federal efforts to conserve imperiled sage grouse populations across 11 western states.

The action taken late yesterday. The order is meant to improve sage grouse conservation and collaboration between the federal government, states and local communities.  He told reporters during a conference call he has heard concern from some governors and residents that their suggestions are falling on deaf ears.