(MILES CITY, Mont.) – Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials assured Montana livestock producers Wednesday that the proposed resource management plans regarding conservation of sagebrush habitat would continue to provide for authorized livestock grazing on BLM administered lands.
The comments were made during a briefing before the annual meeting of Montana Association of State Grazing Districts on recent and proposed management practices including Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation efforts.
“Proper livestock grazing is a well-established use within the BLM’s multiple use and sustained yield mandate,” said Todd Yeager, the manager of the BLM’S Miles City Field Office. “None of the proposed changes contain any mandatory retirement of grazing allotments.”
Earlier this month, the BLM released a series of proposed Resource Management Plans and plan use amendments to address threats to the Greater Sage-Grouse and its habitat in order to support a decision that protections under the Endangered Species Act are no longer warranted.
BLM State Rangeland Management Specialist Floyd Thompson informed ranchers that “the Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes that well-managed grazing practices can be compatible with long-term sage-grouse conservation.” He added that the BLM will use the best available science to incorporate locally developed management objectives for sage-grouse habitat and rangeland health standards.
While the BLM proposals don’t exactly mirror conservation plans released by the State of Montana, the bureau has pledged to review the state’s conservation efforts every two years. If the bureau finds the state program is effectively conserving the Greater Sage-Grouse, the BLM will review the management goals, objectives, and actions to determine whether amendment of BLM plans is appropriate to achieve consistent management across all lands regardless of ownership.
The BLM’s Miles City Field Office administers nearly 1,800 grazing allotments on 2.7 million acres of public land, making it the largest single rangeland management program in the nation.
Source: Bureau of Land Management, Montana/Dakotas Office
Photo Credits: BLM Miles City Field Office Manager Todd Yeager briefing livestock producers at the Montana Association of State Grazing Districts meeting in Miles City. (BLM Photo by Mark Jacobsen)