Please note that the next meeting date is:
January 10, 2005
Summary prepared by Cossitt Consulting
Anne Cossitt, Local Working Group Facilitator, welcomed the group, reviewed the agenda, and the overall goals of the conservation plan and local working group effort.
Cossitt introduced San Stiver, guest speaker for this round of sage grouse local working group meetings. San is wildlife biologist for the sage grouse planning framework team that was established in 2000. As part of his work on that team, San participated in the preparation of the 600 page status report that was submitted to the federal Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in the Spring of 2004. FWS is using this document in their status review. The document is available on the sage grouse website (see address above under "Updates).
San started with a power point presentation on the background of the sage grouse conservation actions taken by the western states. Some of the key points include:
When developing your local working group plans, follow these steps:
- Identify the imminent risks to the habitat
- Prioritize risks
- Analyze the situation
- Monitor results
Cossitt distributed the matrix of conservation actions related to predation issues. San Stiver provided a power point presentation on predation. Key points included:
Cossitt distributed the matrix of conservation actions related to harvest management issues. San Stiver provided a power point presentation. Key points included:
John Ensign, FWP biologist, reviewed a single sheet handout (both sides) on harvest statistics statewide and for southeastern Montana. FWP is working toward better data to make informed decisions on harvest management. John mentioned a study that is currently underway in central Montana to test the effects of hunting on sage grouse population. John also indicated that season length doesn't seem to make a difference on the population. Bag limits may make a difference and can be based on the average number of birds per lek. For areas with more than 25 males per lek, a bag limit of 4 birds/bag is acceptable, but for areas with less than that bag limits should be reduced.
Projects and Continuing the work of the Miles City Sage Grouse Local Working Group
Participants then discussed projects and how to continue this local working group.
Cossitt reminded the group that the facilitation provided by Cossitt Consulting will end after March of 2005. Local working groups need to identify how they will continue efforts. The group agreed on:
Projects. Two projects "on the table" as discussed by the group are:
Cossitt will work with participants to help further refine and shape project ideas and group coordination after March of 2005. This will be discussed at the January meeting.