Sage Grouse Program Launches Search for Manager

HELENA, Mont. – Recruitment is under way for a manager of the Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program, the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) announced today.

“All of the pieces are in place for an effective program to conserve habitat and reduce future threats to sage grouse,” said DNRC Director John Tubbs. “It’s time to hire a program manager to lead the implementation of a new era of sage grouse conservation.”

Mark Bostrom, Administrator of DNRC Conservation and Resource Development Division, said the program manager will receive direction from the Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team, established by executive order from Governor Steve Bullock last year; funding for the program was approved by the 64th Legislature. The program manager will be administratively attached to DNRC.

“This position will put legs under the new state program, expanding the good work done up to this point, and developing the systems and processes we need to conserve sage grouse habitat,” Bostrom said.

Recruitment for the position opened June 25 and will close July 17. The job posting is available through the Job Service and the State of Montana Web site, http://statecareers.mt.gov/.

An earlier executive order from Governor Bullock established a Greater Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Advisory Council, with a mission of creating a conservation strategy. That plan was completed in January of 2014 and provided the framework for the governor’s subsequent executive order creating the Oversight Team.

Senate Bill 261, the Montana Greater Sage Grouse Stewardship Act, was adopted by the Legislature, as was the House Bill 2 appropriation funding the program, with a separate $10 million Stewardship Account for on-the-ground conservation work.

In 2010, a proposed rule by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) found that the Greater Sage Grouse was warranted for listed as threatened or endangered across most of its range, but the listing was precluded by higher-priority actions. A subsequent ruling in U.S. district court gave FWS until September 30, 2015, to adopt the rule.

Tubbs said, “Montana’s new sage grouse habitat conservation program is key to demonstrating to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service an ESA listing of the sage grouse is unwarranted. Montana’s sage grouse population is one of the strongest in the West. With this new program, Montana is developing one of the strongest conservation strategies in the West.”

For more information on the program manager position or the sage grouse conservation effort, contact Mark Bostrom by email at mbostrom2@mt.gov, or by phone at (406) 444-9708.

To apply for this position, visit the job announcement on the Montana.gov website.