We are already revising resource management plans (RMPs) that cover most BLM-managed sage-grouse habitat in the three states. These include Billings/Pompeys Pillar, HiLine, Miles City, and South Dakota. These plan revisions provide an opportunity to update our approaches to sage-grouse conservation. These updated plans will guide on-the-ground decisions for habitat conservation and restoration through three classifications of sage-grouse habitats in the Montana/Dakotas:
Priority Protection Areas – areas that contain good sage-grouse habitat and that have limited disturbances. The focus is on entire landscapes, and protections will apply across that habitat.
Restoration Priority Areas – areas that have the potential to have good sage-grouse habitat, but have existing disturbances (energy development, fire, etc.). The emphasis within these areas will be to restore the habitat or reduce existing disturbances.
General Habitat Areas – sage-grouse habitat outside the priority areas. Management will maintain habitat for continued presence of sage-grouse and connectivity to ensure genetic transfer and movement.
We will prepare an environmental impact statement for RMPS which need to be amended to included greater sage-grouse conservation measures. These include Lewistown, North Dakota, Butte, and Dillon. Scoping for the EIS/amendments began December 9 with the publication of a notice of intent in the Federal Register and lasts until February 7, 2012.
We’ll need the help of the public as we move forward. In early 2012, we’ll begin the public scoping process where we ask interested people, organizations, and other agencies to identify issues that should be analyzed in the EIS/amendments. Where the public scoping process is not appropriate or available, the BLM will hold additional public workshops to engage the public while we address the needs of the greater sage-grouse on BLM lands.
We will hold scoping open houses in the following locations:
January 10, 2012 - 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Yogo Inn - 211 E Main Street
January 12, 2012 – 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
National Guard Armory - 1050 Montana Hwy. 41
January 17, 2012 – 5 to 8 p.m.
Bowman City Hall - 101 1st St NE
Bowman, North Dakota
Scoping comments may also be submitted using the following methods:
- Eastern Region (Lewistown and North Dakota)
- Western Region (Dillon and Butte)
Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
For more information on the scoping process and how to submit scoping comments, please visit the Eastern and Western Region webpages.