Conserving Montana’s Grasslands
Conserving Montana’s Working Grasslands is a 5-year special initiative designed to help retain and enhance native grasslands by targeting and leveraging voluntary, incentive-based assistance programs for private landowners as well as the research needed to identify the needs of species of concern. Globally, grasslands are the least protected and most altered of all major plant communities; loss of these native habitats in Montana is ongoing. Concurrently, native grassland birds are suffering the steepest declines of bird assemblages on the continent. Breeding waterfowl, sharp-tailed grouse, pronghorn antelope, black-tailed prairie dog, swift fox, and other prairie wildlife species also depend on intact grass landscapes. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP) is launching this special initiative to help willing landowners conserve this critical, yet disappearing, grassland wildlife habitat. FWP proposes to offer funding and technical assistance to private landowners interested to conserve grasslands on their property. Support for working lands agriculture is a win-win, long-term solution to maintaining viable ranching operations, supporting local economies and a rural quality of life, and providing quality wildlife habitat.