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Fence replacement in central Montana could help support pronghorn populations

A pronghorn in Montana's Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge
USFWS Mountain-Prairie
A pronghorn in Montana's Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge

Two Eastern Montana counties bordering the Hi Line are getting a big boost of federal funding to improve game migration corridors with a hope it helps Montana’s waning antelope population.

The Department of the Interior and nonprofit the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are directing more than a half million dollars to supporting grassland restoration in Phillips and Valley Counties.

Martin Townsend with conservation group the Ranchers Stewardship Alliance says a portion of the money will go toward replacing fences with more migration-friendly barriers.

“This should help lower stress through migration, which could lower the swings in population,” said Townsend. “So, for things like hunting season, wildlife enjoyment, there should be a more stable habitat for antelope and then hopefully a more stable number of antelope in that habitat.”

The Interior Department first committed in 2018 to restoring big game migration corridors in the Western U.S. Since then, regulators, researchers and other stakeholders in Montana have pitched in to study and restore the state’s declining antelope populations.

This grant amount will not only fund fence replacement and grassland restoration, but also a Conservation Director position with the Ranchers’ Stewardship Alliance.

Kayla writes about energy policy, the oil and gas industry and new electricity developments.