HELENA, Mont. — The Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team (MSGOT) has announced that approximately $5.2 million in grant dollars are available for conservation projects to benefit the sage grouse and its habitat.
“This is an exciting opportunity to fund projects that will help provide important uplift and restoration of sage grouse habitat,” said Amanda Kaster, Director of the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
Applicants are required to submit an online pre-proposal review no later than 5:00 p.m. on May 30, 2022, to qualify for full proposal submission. The pre-proposal review provides would-be applicants with feedback that may help them decide whether to submit a complete application for formal consideration. A full list of eligible conservation project and details for the application process are located at https://sagegrouse.mt.gov/Grants.
Completed applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on August 12, 2022. Applications are reviewed by the Sage Grouse Habitat Program and subject matter experts, as required by the Stewardship Act. The public will have the opportunity to review and provide comment on applications.
“After robust discussion among MSGOT members and receiving public comment at our February 11 meeting, we are now able to consider term easements this grant round,” explained Kaster. “We believe this will be an incredibly important tool to help maintain sage grouse habitat.”
The grant program was created with the passage of the Greater Sage Grouse Stewardship Act in 2015 by the Montana Legislature.
Potential projects could include options such as the reduction of conifer encroachment; restoration or improvement of sagebrush health; restoration of cropland to grazing land; or term conservation leases with a 15-year minimum duration.
MSGOT has determined that conservation projects located within the Central or Southeastern Service Areas will be given preference. Projects with partnerships between public and private entities, as well as projects showing matching funds are strongly encouraged.
Conservation agencies and organizations are eligible to receive funds. Private citizens are not eligible unless they are working with an agency or organization and the funds are provided directly to that qualified entity.
Eligible organizations and agencies must hold and maintain conservation easements or leases or be directly involved in sage grouse conservation activities approved by MSGOT. Qualifying projects must be located partially on land in designated sage grouse habitats. Reference the interactive map to determine if a potential project is in a designated as sage grouse habitat https://sagegrouse.mt.gov/ProgramMap.
Interested parties may schedule a meeting with MSGOT staff to review the pre-proposal feedback. Requests for pre-proposal reviews should be submitted to email@example.com.
MSGOT will select grant recipients during a public meeting later this fall.