15-03: Use Local Ecological Knowledge to Incorporate Predation Concerns Into Ecological Restoration for Endangered Species

WHEREAS, ranchers and landowners are the original conservationists and land stewards, who have many years of “local ecological knowledge”. They have observed the Sage grouse numbers decline over the years. There are a number of reasons for Sage grouse decline; increase in mammalian and avian predator populations, extreme weather events, disease and others; and

WHEREAS, current efforts to restore Sage grouse populations primarily focus on vegetation, one aspect of habitat; and

WHEREAS, limited funding has been directed to gain understanding of predation on Sage grouse, and the effects of disease and weather events; and

WHEREAS, predation occurs on nests as well as live birds. Predator species including but not limited to coyote, fox, falcon, hawk, and eagle prey on adult and juvenile Sage grouse. Predators including but not limited to common raven, crow, magpie, seagull, raccoon, skunk, and badger prey on juvenile birds, nestlings and eggs; and

WHEREAS, the decline in Sage grouse populations range wide supports the need to better understand factors that influence the population decline. Nest success is a major component to Sage grouse population persistence and research that identifies factors influencing nest success, chick and adult success will better inform conservation efforts.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that MACD work with Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team (MSGOT) to address predators as listed above as a component that needs better understanding and be included in restoration efforts, as well as control efforts if needed.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that MACD promote the use of “local ecological knowledge” in addressing the impacts to Sage grouse populations.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that MACD encourage the MSGOT and other agencies to address all impacts to Sage grouse populations.



Updates to this resolution: This resolution was shared with members of MSGOT and brought up at meetings of MSGOT with members and state and federal partners. As the mitigation tool is developed there will be a more clear idea of the likelihood of incorporation of predator concerns and ability for local involvement.