Montana Outdoors Magazine | “Ranching the Best Hope for Grassland Songbirds”

cow or plow MT outdoors

March 18, 2016

Ranchers manage their land to sustain grass production, which benefits bovines and birds.

We wholeheartedly agree with this “Cow or Plow” article by Catherine Wightman, which appeared in the March/April 2016 edition of Montana Outdoors. The Sage Grouse Initiative partners with agricultural landowners by planning, implementing, and funding practices and projects that conserve native range for the hundreds of wildlife species that depend on it.

The lessons learned from this article about grazing management practices that preserve grasslands on Montana’s Hi-Line echo findings from two of our Science to Solutions reports. Sagebrush Songbirds Benefit from Sage Grouse Habitat Restoration  demonstrates  how restoring sagebrush ecosystems by removing encroaching conifers to retain shrub cover benefits ranching, songbirds, sage grouse, and a host of other wildlife. Reducing Cultivation of Grazing Lands Conserves Sage Grouse shows that in the northeast part of sage grouse range, 70% of the best habitat is privately owned, and the single greatest threat in this region is cultivation of native sagebrush grazing lands … the same grasslands discussed in the story below.

Click here to read the Montana Outdoors story or click the images below.

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The Sage Grouse Initiative is a partnership-based, science-driven effort that uses voluntary incentives to proactively conserve America’s western rangelands, wildlife, and rural way of life. This initiative is part of Working Lands For Wildlife, which is led by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.