The Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team (MSGOT), managers of Montana Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program, met on Feb. 11 and unanimously approved a new grant cycle for Sage Grouse Program Stewardship Grants. MALT members The Montana Land Reliance and The Nature Conservancy in Montana are major sage grouse conservation partners with MSGOT and work with landowners on perpetual conservation easements to conserve sage grouse habitat and generate mitigation credits. The amount of funding available in the new grant cycle will be in the $5.3 million range.
Since the program’s first sage grouse conservation grant awards in 2016, MSGOT has funded 15 habitat conservation projects that have conserved more than 90,000 of sage grouse habitat. The $9.6 million in state sage grouse funds have been leveraged by $25 million in matching funds from other programs, including the Farm Bill’s Agricultural Land Easement program.
MSGOT also approved term conservation leases within the potential grant awards, and indicated conservation easements that have a restoration or enhancement component are particularly attractive to the program.
Brad Hansen, MLR’s eastern manager, provided comments at the meeting.