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Montana

Western Watersheds Project works throughout the state of Montana to rein in livestock grazing and protect threatened, endangered, and sensitive species from conflict with livestock. The wildlife and ecosystems of the Greater Yellowstone receive particular interest. Western Watersheds Project is engaged with local campaigns working to see bison receive better protections so that they can be managed as wildlife in wild, free-roaming herds.

In 2021, WWP was part of a legal victory on the Flathead National Forest that will require the Forest to better protect and conserve wildlife habitat specific to bull trout, Canada lynx, and grizzly bears. As grizzly bears expand their range, WWP works to reduce potential conflicts with livestock in connectivity areas so that a thriving, connected grizzly bear population with resident bears in the Bitterroot Ecosystem can be realized.

WWP has been working to reduce the impacts of livestock grazing on the national forests of western Montana through engagement in U.S. Forest Service planning processes and project level analyses of livestock grazing. These forests provide important habitat for sensitive species such as grizzly bears, wolves, bighorn sheep, bull trout, westslope cutthroat trout, and arctic grayling. Focus areas for WWP include the Paradise Valley, West Pioneers Wilderness Study Area, and the Big Hole Valley.

WWP also actively engages with Bureau of Land Management decision making processes, particularly when livestock grazing overlaps with sensitive species habitat such as sage grouse, bull trout, arctic grayling, wolves, bighorn sheep and grizzly bears. Drought is wreaking havoc across the west and various ecosystems across Montana experienced negative impacts, yet federal and state agencies have failed to systematically reduce livestock grazing, exacerbating ecosystem impacts and impacts to wildlife.

WWP Montana has big plans befitting Big Sky country, and looks forward to the day when bison are free to roam along the front range of the Northern Rockies, along with pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, sage grouse, and wolves in what we envision as the American Serengeti.

Jocelyn Leroux
Washington – Montana Director
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