"The council will lead the effort to develop and carry out management options to ensure sage grouse are maintained as an integral part of Montana's wildlife heritage while still allowing other managed uses of the land," said Jeff Hagener, director of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.
The group's first meeting is set to begin at 9 a.m. on May 21, and continue through noon on May 23, at the Montana State Capitol Building, Room 152, in Helena.
The sage grouse, a candidate species under the Endangered Species Act, is North America's largest grouse and is best known for its distinctive spring mating rituals on breeding grounds called "leks." Sage grouse depend almost exclusively on sagebrush environments to meet their habitat needs. Changes to sagebrush habitat throughout the West have lead to recent concern for sage grouse populations.
The Governor's Sage Grouse Advisory Council members include Paul Callahan, Missoula; State Representative Pat Connell, Hamilton; Janet Ellis, Helena; Gary Forrester, Billings; Jay Gore, Missoula; Robert Lee, Forsyth; Glenn Marx, Helena; Bill McChesney, Miles City; State Representative Ray Shaw, Sheridan; Carl Wambolt, Bozeman.
The meeting is open to the public. Public comment is specifically scheduled only for May 22 at 4 p.m. For additional information call Catherine Wightman at 406-444-3377.