The Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team is seeking public comment on proposed rules for implementation of portions of the Greater Sage-Grouse Stewardship Act. The Act was passed by the 2015 Montana Legislature. Proposed rules address mitigation and Stewardship Fund grants. The proposed mitigation rules designate the habitat quantification tool and the accompanying policy for how development impacts and conservation project benefits will be measured, and direct the implementation of two, more detailed documents. The proposed rules also outline the process for how the Oversight Team will update the habitat quantification tool and mitigation policies through adaptive management in the future. The proposed grant rules direct the Oversight Team to give greater priority to grant applications for conservation of core area habitats, which have the highest conservation value and support the greatest number of displaying male sage grouse. Lastly, the proposed rules direct the Oversight Team and the Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Program to develop a method to administer the review and monitoring of projects selected for funding by the Oversight Team.
The public comment period opened Oct. 19, 2018, and will run through 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2018. A copy of the proposed rules is available on the Secretary of State’s Web site at http://www.mtrules.org/gateway/ShowNoticeFile.asp?TID=8844. [NOTE: please refer to and use this link to the Secretary of State’s website for the official version of the proposed rules.] Interested persons may submit comments through the online public comment tool on the Oversight Team’s webpage at https://appsi.dnrc.mt.gov/pubcomment/. Comments can be typed directly into the tool or interested persons can attach an electronic file of their comment letter.
The Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team will host a public hearing on the proposed rules on Nov. 9, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the DNRC Headquarters, Montana Room, 1539 11th Ave., Helena. The public can submit comments orally or in writing at the hearing.
Those unable to attend the hearing may submit written comment electronically through the online comment form at https://appsi.dnrc.mt.gov/pubcomment/ or by postal mail to Carolyn Sime, Sage Grouse Resource Program Manager, MT Dept. of Natural Resources and Conservation, PO Box 201601, Helena, MT 59620-1601. All comments must be received by 11:59 p.m. on Nov. 19, 2018.