August Rangeland Resources Newsletter 2022

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Rangeland Resources Program

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation’s Rangeland Resources Program (RRP) promotes and advocates for healthy, sustainable rangelands that supports people, wildlife, recreation, clean water, and the natural scenic beauty of Montana.

august 22


Reminder: 2022 Montana Range Tour- Aug. 30 & 31!

Time is running out to register for the 2022 Montana Range Tour.  Don't miss your chance to listen to international speaker Alejandro Carrillo.  Alejandro

After a successful career as an IT consultant in the US and other countries in the Americas and Europe, Alejandro joined his family ranch back in 2004. Tired of the constant drought and suffering that comes with traditional ranching in the Chihuahua desert, he searched for better ways to do things.

Since 2006, he adapted the principles of Holistic Planed Grazing Management to his ranch. The change from continuous grazing to planned grazing brought many challenges as well as positive results, such as being able to increase his carrying capacity 3 times while lowering his inputs. 

The field tour will be at Sieben Live Stock, this will include winter grazing practices, beaver mimicry, and lessons learned from making management changes to improve the health of the land.  Sieben Live Stock Company is a family owned and managed ranch in north central Montana, where high plains meet the mountains. Raising cattle and sheep, we steward our range and practice sound business strategies to keep our lands healthy, our people thriving, and our ranch profitable.

Wait-there is more, speakers on drought, drones, feral swine and so much more.  

To register please call 406-403-3767 or email  Hotels are filling quickly, Crystal Inn rooms for this event will expire Aug 5th, so hurry and make your reservations today.  

Crystal Inn (Host Hotel)  406-727-7788              Comfort Inn  406-564-1539

Holiday Inn Express  406-453-4000                    Hilton Garden Inn  406-452-1000

Hampton Inn  406-453-2675                                Heritage Inn  406-761-1900


2022 Montana Range Tour Poster

Bridger Lane

Internship Spotlight -Working Land Internship- Summer 2022 Bridger Line- in his own words 

I applied for the Montana Working Lands Internship Program because I wanted to learn more about the ranching lifestyle and build off of the agricultural experience that I have to get a better understanding of what ranchers have to do to make a living out of this lifestyle.

I am studying resource conservation at the University of Montana and have
a minor in wildlife biology. This internship has furthered my education by getting real-life
hands-on work experience, learning about rangelands, learning how ranchers work with
agencies to make their ranches more efficient and wildlife friendly, and much more.

I am currently at the SC ranch in Boulder Montana which will be my last ranch.
Throughout the first four ranches, I have learned about how the drought affects
ranchers in many ways. I learned that the government has programs that help farmers
and ranchers in situations like this. However, even with the government programs, some
ranchers still have to be careful and ration their water and even may end up reducing
their herd numbers to keep afloat. So far I have had many experiences working with
machinery, irrigating hay crops, feeding and doctoring livestock, learning about
ranchlands health, attending conservation committee meetings, learning about wildlife
management, operating haying equipment, and much more.

I believe this internship has given me a great sense of what it's like to be a
landowner and will inspire me to find a career in some land management position.
Throughout the internship, I have had many conversations with people who are in
agriculture and or work for land management agencies and have gained more
knowledge about what careers there are in these fields that I may be interested in!

Calf Market: Northern Livestock Video Auction Recap

Northern Livestock Video Auction's Ty Thompson shares a recap of their first big video sale of the summer. Full Results can be found by click here 
Click the photo below to watch the Northern Livestock Video Auction Recap
Calf Market Recap

American Bison are Making a Major Comeback

 The Fish and Wildlife Service in early June announced that several petitions to add Yellowstone bison to the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 presented “substantial” arguments that ESA protections “may be warranted.”

Conservation efforts, responsible farming, and an ambitious relocation effort have afforded a bison population boom in recent years. While small and isolated, populations are ascending with roughly 350,000 Plains bison in production herds, 30,000 in public herds, and around 20,000 in tribal herds. To learn more about the ultimate American comeback story, Stacker explored the history of bison populations in the U.S. and repopulation efforts underway.

Read the full Article!

Bureau of Reclamation Grazes Goats for Reducing Wildfire Risk

This summer, Bureau of Reclamation will contract goat grazing activities on approximately 37- acres of the existing Auburn Shaded Fuel Break in Auburn, CA, to control the annual grasses and invasive plants (scotch broom, ornamental plants) and maintain the existing fuel break for vegetation fuel load density on Auburn Project lands along the boundary of the City of Auburn. Reclamation has previously contracted for goat grazing on three other areas in the shaded fuel break.

Read the full Project Details

Central Grasslands Roadmap

Roadmap Updates

Recently, a 2022 Central Grasslands Roadmap Summit Report has been published.  The 2022 Summit was held May 23-25 in Fort Collins, CO and was designed to include grasslands stakeholders in identifying collaborative opportunities, gaps of resources, and next steps.

The Central Grasslands Roadmap would be supported by the North American Grasslands Conservation Act (NAGCA) and the congressional action of Recovering America's Wildlife Act's (RAWA).

Read the full update!


2022 Public lands Council Summit

Register for the

2022 Public Lands Council Annual Meeting!

After a long stretch of virtual meetings, PLC is excited to announce their 2022 Annual meeting in Cody, Wyoming! Join PLC August 24-26 for a full-fledged line-up of informative general sessions, policy committee meetings, cocktail hours, awards banquets, and much more. View the full agenda, here!

$325 In-Person Registration: Includes attendance to all meetings over the three-day period in Cody. From general sessions to our final banquet at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, you will receive full access to all the week’s offerings.    

$100 Virtual Registration: Receive a link to livestream each day’s general sessions and BLM Awards Luncheon on August 25th. Committee meetings and the general business meeting will not be livestreamed.

Check out the full registration options, here!

Q&A Good Grazing Makes Cent$

Your Drought Questions Answered...

Answers to your questions about drought - from water storage to rangeland health to marketing, these experts and ranchers discuss all things drought related. Drought presents unique challenges to ranches and livestock operations, and the best way to get through it is to learn from others and that is the goal of Good Grazing Makes Cent$ - to foster conversation and collaboration.

When in Drought Q&A

At the core of the mission behind Good Grazing Makes Cent$ is facilitating "conversation and collaboration between range scientists and ranchers."  As a key program driver, we aim to create conversation in multiple ways to ensure that our members feel their questions are being answered.  
Wondering how you can take advantage of the tailored content? 

1.  Tune in to live events.

2.  Submit your question to our list of experts.

3.  Join the Facebook discussion.

Submit a Question to GGMC Experts

Read the Full Issue

MSU Extension

The Economic Cost of Noxious Weeds on Montana Grazing Lands

Invasions by exotic species have been cited as one of the leading causes of environmental change and decreases in biodiversity, it is estimated that nonindigenous species in the United States cause damages of $137 billion annually, with nonnative plants making up $34 billion of that cost.

On rangelands, these economic impacts are associated with livestock production; in particular, noxious weeds reduce yield and quality of forage and can poison livestock. In addition, landowners incur expenses when they implement noxious weed management strategies aimed at limiting weed invasions or managing current infestations . Overall, reductions in rangeland carrying capacity for livestock and increases in operating and management costs lead to reduced land value.

Read the scientific article!

small macd

EQC Votes to Move Forward with Draft Bill for Conservation District Funding

MACD has continued to work on a long-term funding solution for conservation districts. At the July 19th meeting of the Environmental Quality Council (EQC), the Council voted to move forward with the draft bill on conservation district funding.

This draft bill – which can be found in the legislative report title ‘Eroding Funds: HJ27 Study of Financing Conservation Districts’ would increase the total funding in the conservation districts account (managed by the MT Department of Natural Resources and Conservation) from around $3.1 million to $6 million. Conservation districts would still receive funding from coal severance taxes, with marijuana taxes making up the difference to reach a total of $6 million annually. Additionally, the bill also includes inflation adjustment in accordance with the procedures available to other local governments.

Blue WSE

Western Sustainability Exchange Sponsors Expanding Livestock Markets Conference

Expanding Livestock Markets Conference

If you could learn from successful regenerative ranchers and progressive companies about how to increase your bottom line, would you? Join WSE to learn how you can work with nature to lower your input costs, become a more productive ranch, and receive a premium for your products! Hear from all sides--aggregate supply chain companies, verifying organizations, value-added companies, and successful regenerative ranchers taking advantage of innovative marketing opportunities.

The conference will take place September 15th and 16th from 10:00 am to 5:00pm at the Pine Meadows Golf Course, Lewistown, MT.

The conference in $75/person and the last day to register is August 31st.

Register here!

Western Landowners Alliance

Blue- Women in Ranching

Women in Ranching Becoming Independent Organization

For the past three years, Western Landowners Alliance has been supporting and expanding women’s leadership on working rangelands through our Women in Ranching program. 

We are excited to announce that Women in Ranching has fledged and is taking off on its own. WLA has supported WinR through stabilization, growth, a global pandemic, and exciting new partnerships. Now, Women in Ranching is ready to soar as an independent non-profit.

It will allow both Western Landowners Alliance, which remains fully committed to growing women's leadership in land stewardship, and Women in Ranching to deliver the strongest services and impacts to our communities. We remain a proud and prominent partner with the newly independent Women in Ranching organization! 

Read the full Announcement! 

Northern Great Plains Grassland Conservation Project


ARPA Photo

DNRC has finalized the Flood Response Irrigation Grant Application Guidelines

Application and Guidelines are available to view but won't be open for submissions until August 1, 2022. 

Governor Gianforte and the Infrastructure Advisory Commission have prioritized $1.2 million to help irrigators recover from flooding damages sustained during the Spring of 2022. Grant limits are set at $250,000 per project and applications will be considered on a "first come, first serve" basis. These grants must be for agricultural irrigation projects that are eligible for ARPA Water and Sewer Funds.

Visit the Flood Response: Irrigation Grant Program website for more information and updates.

FWP Outside in us all

Reminder: FWP Seeks Public Comment for Aug. 25 Commission Meeting

  • Approval of Request to Translocate Sage-Grouse to Alberta, Canada, in 2023

  • Programmatic Approval of Long-term Leases of Priority Habitat

  • Amendments to ARM 12.9.1403 Grizzly Bear Demographic Objective for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem

  • Future Fisheries Improvement Projects, Summer 2022 funding cycle
  • Big Snowy Mountains WMA Fee Title Acquisition, Region 5
  • Pheasant releases for recruiting and retaining hunters

The commission will make a final decision on these proposals at its Aug. 25 meeting.

To comment and for more information on the full list of proposals, go online to the FWP Commission Webpage.

FWP Seeks Public Input on Revisions to Elk Management Plan

FWP is seeking input on the existing elk population objectives and local elk management challenges that should be considered in the revision. The scoping period started several weeks ago, but meetings have been sparsely attended and FWP has received few comments to date.

FWP will be hosting a series of public meetings this summer and fall to gather ideas about local elk management issues and population objectives. See meeting schedule, or see the 'Save the Date' section, below.

Information on current elk population objectives being considered for revision can be viewed here. FWP would like feedback on relative population objectives as well as individual hunting districts.

The deadline for public comment is October 15, 2022.

Montana DEQ

DEQ Seeking Public Comment on State Revolving Fund Intended Use Plans & Priority Projects- Water Quality

DEQ invites comments on the Intended Use Plans and Proposed proposed Project Priority Lists for State Fiscal Year 2023 for both the Drinking Water and the Water Pollution Control State Revolving Fund  (SRF) Loan Programs. The Intended Use Plans identify the intended uses of funds in the loan programs and describes how the goals of the programs will be satisfied.

The Project Priority Lists identify projects that are eligible to be funded with loan monies authorized and appropriated to the State of Montana through Federal Fiscal Year 2022 funding.

Associated Materials:

Comment Period Ends: August 10, 2022

Send Comments To:

By email to Mark Smith (, Drinking Water Revolving Fund Program Manager, or Mike Abrahamson (, Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund Program Manager,

Or by mail to DEQ/SRF, PO Box 200901, Helena, Montana 59620-0901


Soil Health is Key to a Healthy Planet

Healthy soil gives us clean air and water, bountiful crops and forests, productive grazing lands, diverse wildlife, and beautiful landscapes. Thanks to the soil professionals, farmers and growers conserving our soil and improving our global soil health.

Learn more about the ABCs of Soil Health. 

USDA Farm Service

USDA Accepts More than 3.1 Million Acres in Grassland CRP Signup

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting offers for more than 3.1 million acres from agricultural producers and private landowners through this year’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grassland Signup, the highest in history. 

Grasslands enrolled in CRP help sequester carbon in vegetation and soil, while enhancing resilience to drought and wildfire. Meanwhile, producers can still conduct common grazing practices, such as haying, mowing, or harvesting seed from the enrolled land, which supports ag production. 

Because Grassland CRP supports not only grazing operations but also biodiversity and conserving environmentally sensitive land such as that prone to wind erosion, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) created two National Priority Zones in 2021: the Greater Yellowstone Migration Corridor and Dust Bowl Zone. For this year’s signup, FSA expanded the Greater Yellowstone Wildlife Migration Corridor Priority Zone to include seven additional counties across Montana, Wyoming, and Utah, to help protect the big-game animal migration corridor associated with Wyoming elk, mule deer and antelope.

Producers can still make an offer to participate in CRP through the Continuous CRP Signup, which is ongoing, by contacting the FSA at their local USDA Service Center.

Read the full Press Release, here!

USDA Animal and Plant Inspection Service

Scientists Explore Gene Editing to Manage Invasive Species

In the U.S., the environmental and economic costs caused by invasive species are estimated to exceed $120 billion per year. Since invasive pests have few or no natural predators, they can quickly spread, and throw off entire ecosystems by pushing out native species and reducing biological diversity. 

To protect our vital resources from invasive species, APHIS scientists are exploring the feasibility of genetically modifying traits in invasive species to manage their populations, control diseases, create new detection tools for plant pathogens and more. These technologies are faster, cheaper, and more accurate than previous molecular tools—allowing scientists to target specific species and genes.

What is on the horizon? Our researchers are studying gene-drive technology to promote single-sex offspring in invasive rodents. If successful, a modified rodent population that only produces male or female offspring would eventually breed itself into its last generation -- without the use of chemical pesticides in an island ecosystem.

Will gene editing be the future of invasive pest management? Visit Solutions Through Science: Exploring Emerging Genetic Technologies to learn more.


BLM Seeks Public Comment on the Seymour Creek Parcel Acquisition

The public is invited to comment on a proposal by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to acquire the 3,600-acre Seymour Creek parcel in the Big Hole River Watershed.

The proposed acquisition is about 55 miles south of Butte, in Beaverhead (est. 3,178 acres) and Deerlodge (est. 422 acres) Counites. The Seymour Creek parcel is approximately 13 miles upstream from the confluence of the Big Hole River and Wise River. 

The existing private landowners are partnering with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and BLM to conserve their family lands in southwest Montana through this Land and Water Conservation Fund acquisition. The comment period for the public to share any issues and concerns that should be considered by the BLM during their environmental assessment planning process to evaluate the impacts of acquiring the acreage will close on August 4, 2022.

Read the full Press Release

Dept of Interior

Expansion of National Wildlife Refuge System with Lost Trail Conservation Area in Montana

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland today announced the establishment of the Lost Trail Conservation Area in Northwest Montana as the 568th and newest unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

The Service worked in partnership with the Trust for Public Land and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) to purchase the 38,052-acre conservation easement from continuing owner Southern Pine Plantations Montana. Overlaying existing private lands, the Conservation Area will protect crucial wildlife habitats and migration corridors for elk, mule deer, grizzly bear, wolverine, and Canada lynx, between Glacier National Park, the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness, the Selkirk Mountains and into the Coeur d’Alene Mountains in Idaho.

Read the full Press Release!


Our Wyoming Life Video

Our Wyoming Life- First Day of Haying 2022

This month's Podcast Corner will not feature a podcast-but instead a video!  Ride along with the Our Wyoming Life ranch family as they embark on their first haying season since three full years of drought

Watch here!


MSU Extension:

Updated MontGuides

University of Montana:

Rangeland Analysis Platform

Reversing Tree Encroachment Increases Usable Space for Sage-Grouse during the Breeding Season

USDA-Agricultural Research Service

Scientific Discoveries 2022

Rangeland Resources & Systems Research, Fort Collins, CO:

Livestock and Range Research Laboratory, Miles City, MT:

Pest Management Research, Sidney, MT:

USDA- Wildlife Services:

US Forest Service Research & Development: 

Research topic: Fire

Research topic: Water, Air, & Soil


Range Improvement Loan Program

Montana Hay & Pasture Hotline

USDA Water and Climate Outlook-Montana

USDA Montana Ag Stats

Grazing Your Way to Healthy Pastures

Montana Wildflower App

Montana Grass ID App

Montana Noxious Weed Information

Grassfed Exchange



NRCS Events. Calendar of conservation workshops and training

August 2022:

September 2022:


Stacey Barta, State Coordinator for Rangelands

(406) 594-8481


Rangeland Resources Committee:

Diane Ahlgren, Chair

John Hollenback, Vice Chair

Sigurd Jensen

Jim Anderson

Leah Lewis

Ron Devlin