Public comment is being taken on a proposed use of the Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Stewardship Fund to place a conservation easement on private lands in important sage grouse habitat in southwestern Montana.
The Nature Conservancy is seeking a permanent conservation easement with the Hansen Livestock Co. to conserve 13,810 acres of core sage grouse habitat in Beaverhead County, southwest of Dillon in the Horse Prairie, Medicine Lodge and Big Sheep valleys.
At least four active sage grouse leks are located on or very close to the parcel. An additional 12 leks are located within 10 miles.
The total award for the easement would be $952,500. TNC is matching the state’s contribution toward the purchase price with $4.95 million from the NRCS Agricultural Land Easement Program and $697,500 from other sources.
A copy of the scoping notice, along with maps and more information about the proposed project, is available online at https://sagegrouse.mt.gov/Grants.
Public comments may be submitted through March 14, 2018, by mailing written comments to Carolyn Sime, Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program, 1539 Eleventh Avenue, PO Box 201601, Helena, MT 59620. Written comments must be postmarked on or before March 14. Comments may also be submitted electronically through the public comment web application tool at https://sagegrouse.mt.gov/Grants. Electronic comments and attached documents must be received by 11:59 p.m. on March 14.