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Greater Sage-grouse Conservation

greater sage-grouse male
The Montana/Dakotas BLM manages 8.3 million acres of public land in the three states as well as a 47-million-acre mineral estate. About 30 percent of Montana/Dakotas’ greater sage-grouse habitat is on BLM public lands. Overall, the states of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota contain around 10 million acres of sage-grouse habitat and over 1,000 leks, which account for about 19 percent of the known male population of greater sage-grouse. The BLM manages 27 percent of the high quality breeding and nesting habitat across this area. 

The BLM’s primary objective for greater sage-grouse is simple: We want to conserve and restore sagebrush habitat on a range-wide basis in the short term for the long term.

Sage-grouse conservation in Montana and the Dakotas is a multi-jurisdictional challenge due to fragmented land ownership patterns across large portions of sage-grouse habitat, making a collaborative approach essential. The BLM has been working with state fish and wildlife agencies, local working groups, and other organizations to conserve sage-grouse habitat.  We have been improving areas of sage-grouse habitat through conifer removal, invasive species control, and native range restoration.  In addition, we are the leading agency in funding sage-grouse research in order to understand the impacts of our decisions, the effectiveness of our restoration, and to identify the best places for conservation and restoration of sage-grouse habitat. These actions will maintain or improve tens of thousands of acres of sage-grouse habitat across our three-state area.

National Greater Sage-grouse Planning Strategy

MT/DKs Draft Resource Management Plans

The BLM National Greater Sage-Grouse Planning Strategy is a planning approach that provides the framework and structure for transparent interagency and stakeholder collaboration on long-term greater sage-grouse conservation and habitat restoration. Under the planning strategy, the BLM will review its principal, existing regulatory framework for sage-grouse conservation—the land use planning process—to determine the development and implementation of new or revised regulatory mechanisms. The focus will be on incorporating regionally-appropriate, science-based conservation measures into BLM land use planning efforts through coordinated, cooperative stakeholder engagement.

For the purposes of this planning effort, the BLM has divided the greater sage-grouse’s range into an Eastern and Western Region.  Most of Montana and North and South Dakota are in the Eastern Region.  Southwest Montana is in the Western Region.

This division allows for closer cooperation and partnerships on region-specific conservation and habitat restoration measures.  Sage-grouse face distinct challenges in different parts of the country.  For example, wildfire is a large challenge in the Western Region, whereas energy development is fragmenting habitat in the Eastern Region. Dividing the species’ range into two regions makes it easier to tailor conservation actions to the specific conditions of an area.

More information on how the Montana/Dakotas will be implementing the planning strategy, background on the national planning strategy, and the regional approaches can be found at the following links:

Montana Scoping & Implementation of National Strategy

Montana/Dakotas BLM Conservation/Research Projects