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DNRC Headquarters
1539 Eleventh Ave. Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 444-2074 | Fax: (406) 444-2684
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Sage grouse program seeking grant applications

HELENA, Mont -- The Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team (MSGOT) today opened its initial application cycle for conservation projects to benefit sage grouse and sage grouse habitat.

 “Habitat conservation is a key component of Montana’s conservation strategy, especially on private lands where most of Montana’s sage grouse live,” said Carolyn Sime, Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program Manager. “We’re looking for high-quality projects in core habitats that support active leks, and projects with a high likelihood of being implemented in the short term.”

 Conservation agencies and organizations are eligible to receive funds; private citizens are not eligible, unless they are working with an agency or organization and the funds are provided directly to that qualified entity, said Sime.

 Eligible organizations and agencies must hold and maintain conservation easements or leases, or be directly involved in sage grouse conservation activities approved by MSGOT. Qualifying projects must be located at least in part on land in designated sage grouse habitats.

 The 2015 Montana Legislature created the grant program when it passed the Greater Sage Grouse Stewardship Act, which included a $10 million Stewardship Fund for grants. Montana’s efforts to establish a state-based conservation program led the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to decide in September of 2015 that listing the greater sage grouse under the federal Endangered Species Act was not warranted.

 Sime noted possible projects could include reduction of conifer encroachment; restoration or improvement of sage brush health; restoration of cropland to grazing; and conservation easements. Priority will be given to projects involving partnerships between public and private entities, as well as projects showing matching funds, she said.

 Applications will be reviewed by the Sage Grouse Habitat Program and subject matter experts. As required by the Stewardship Act, applications will also be made available for public review on the program’s web site. The MSGOT will select grant recipients during a regularly scheduled public meeting on May 24, 2016.

 Complete details on the grant application process are available on the
Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program Web site at

 Applications must be received on paper via postal mail, express delivery or hand delivery by 5 p.m. on April 8, 2016. Late, faxed, or incomplete applications will not be considered.