Montana has 4 top sites for grasslands wildlife restoration, study says

Four of the 10 best places in the Northern Great Plains to restore grassland wildlife species are in Montana, according to a study released today by a wildlife conservation group.

The study, titled "Homes on the Range” and done by the Predator Conservation Alliance, identifies where and how land and wildlife managers can restore prairie dog ecosystems to stem the decline of species, including the endangered black-footed ferret, swift fox, ferruginous hawks and burrowing owls.

Jonathan Proctor, of the conservation group, will discuss the study at 7 p.m. Friday in Billings at a meeting of the Sierra Club. The free talk will be held at the Lewis and Clark Room at MSU-Billings’ Student Union Building.

Proctor said the group identified and ranked the 10 best places by identifying where there were large, contiguous areas of prairie dog habitat on public lands and then looking at places that have prairie dogs, the management of prairie dogs and species that depend on them, such as black-footed ferrets, and whether disease was present.

"We want to promote these areas as great opportunities,” Proctor said.

Of The Gazette Staff

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