Closed roads on federal land and public land without public access will be discussed by the Environmental Quality Council at its meeting September 9-10 at the Capitol.
The meeting begins at 8 a.m. Sept. 9 in room 172.
The bipartisan council is studying road management on federal land with a focus on recreational access. The 2015 Legislature passed House Joint Resolution No. 13, sponsored by Rep. Kerry White (R-Bozeman). It tasks the EQC with assessing road closures on federal lands over the last 35 years, identifying landlocked parcels of public land, and evaluating deer and elk trends in relation to limited access to federal lands.
A tour of closed roads on federal land east of Helena is also planned.
The EQC will continue its work tracking the implementation of the Montana Greater Sage-grouse Stewardship Act. The purpose of the legislation, also passed in 2015, is to provide competitive grant funding and establish ongoing free-market mechanisms for voluntary, incentive-based conservation measures that benefit sage grouse habitat and populations. Also on the schedule is a comparison of sage grouse conservation plans adopted by the state and proposed by the Bureau of Land Management.
As part of its duty to oversee the work of the Departments of Environmental Quality, Natural Resources and Conservation, and Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, the EQC is evaluating specific programs within each agency. Programs being reviewed in September include the Agriculture and Grazing program within DNRC, Wildlife Conflict Management by DFWP, and the coal and opencut mining programs administered by DEQ. Comments are encouraged from anyone with an interest in the programs.
For more information on committee activities and the next meeting visit the EQC's website: http://leg.mt.gov/css/Committees/Interim/2015-2016/EQC/default.asp
Or contact Joe Kolman, council staff, 444-3747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.