Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a proposal to establish emergency haying and grazing leases on portions of 14 Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) in the state.
The purpose of these late summer/fall 2021 leases is to improve wildlife habitat while making forage available for area agricultural producers. This proposal is in support of Gov. Greg Gianforte’s July 1 statewide drought emergency declaration and is a collaborative effort between FWP and the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation.
Drought conditions continue to affect wildlife, habitat and agricultural producers in Montana. To view the latest drought map, visit https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/CurrentMap/StateDroughtMonitor.aspx?MT.
The sites prescribed for haying or grazing treatments have been idle for multiple years, and the habitats benefit from periodically reducing older vegetation. The leases are intended to result in improved wildlife forage value, more diverse herbaceous plant composition, cycled nutrients and invigorated grasses and forbs.
FWP currently hosts 40 ongoing grazing, haying and farming leases across 24 WMAs. These existing leases would not be impacted by the emergency lease offering.
An environmental assessment of the emergency haying and grazing lease proposal is currently out for public review. For more information and to comment, go to the public notices section of the FWP website. Comments can also be sent to Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, c/o Rick Northrup, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620. All comments must be received by 5 p.m. on Aug. 13, 2021.