PHOTO BY MFWP
Montana is obligated to manage all wildlife: both hunted and non-game species. Non-game species depend on much of the same habitat needed by big game and other hunted species. Montanans love their wildlife and yet most Montanans are unaware they do not financially support wildlife management because funding comes through the purchase of hunting or fishing licenses. As Montana's economy and populations continue to grow, protecting and restoring wildlife habitat and corridors in key areas of the state will also grow in importance. Expanded funding for non-game habitat protection will benefit both non-game and hunted species.
Land protection, through fee title acquisitions and easements, is a widely recognized priority for big game habitat, recreational access, water quality, and a variety of other conservation needs. Habitat protection is also a top need for the protection of at-risk species. When done right, land protection activities can benefit species of conservation need while also supporting game species, recreational use, and other conservation values. At the same time, greater attention to at-risk species can result in expanded protection of finer-filter habitats that are not currently protected through game and sportfish habitat protection efforts. In addition to land protection, many at-risk species depend on cooperative conservation action on working private lands. Habitat protection also needs to include technical assistance and incentives for working landowners.
PHOTO BY MFWP
EXPECTED & MEASURABLE OUTCOMES
Increasing funding for habitat protection to encompass the needs of at-risk species alongside existing efforts to protect game animal habitat and recreational access will result in:
Important habitats for species of concern - including year-round habitat, breeding habitat, migration corridors, and linkage zones -will be identified, prioritized, and protected.
Protection of habitat for species of special concern will help halt or reverse population declines, helping increase species abundance and avoid the need for regulatory actions to protect species.
Urban, suburban, and riparian areas will receive greater emphasis in habitat protection activities.
Habitat acquired for at-risk species will also provide benefits for hunted species, resulting in a cumulative benefit above and beyond existing habitat protection activities.