Kendall Van Dyk of The Montana Land Reliance (seen here) and Glenn Marx of Montana Association of Land Trusts were two of the presenters at a special Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team (MSGOT) listening session on Oct. 14. The combination in-person and virtual meeting offered the public and sage grouse program stakeholders an opportunity to share thoughts with and recommendations to MSGOT as the program moves ahead under the Gianforte Administration. MSGOT members include department directors, legislators and the Montana Rangeland Resources Committee (within the DNRC).
Kendall focused his comments on specific items selected at the start of the listening session by MSGOT members. Those topics were: program customer service, program transparency, program efficiency and effectiveness, the program’s success in conserving sage grouse habitat, any potential weakness in the program’s ability to achieve its legislative purpose, the potential use of term leases to generate mitigation credits, and the potential for a unified front in the case Montana would need to seek policy or legal action to retain state authority. Roughly 15 people made presentations, many of them representing rural electric and telephone cooperatives.
MSGOT leadership indicated an interest in hearing more perspectives from sage grouse program participants in upcoming months. MLR, The Nature Conservancy in Montana and MALT have been consistently and actively involved in sage grouse conservation since before MSGOT’s creation.