DU working with Montana ranchers

Revolving Habitat Program protecting habitat at risk of conversion

© Michael Furtman

Montana's Hi-line in the north east part of the state is cowboy country, where stock trailers outnumber SUVs at local cafes. Part of the Prairie Pothole Region, this region boasts some of the highest wetland densities and lowest human population densities.

Montana is the country's third largest waterfowl producer, so Ducks Unlimited is concerned about escalating grassland conversion. DU is working with landowners to protect the area's best habitat, while maintaining its ranching heritage.

DU's Revolving Habitat Program (RHP) is helping protect land at risk of conversion. With RHP, Ducks Unlimited purchases land, restores and permanently protects it, then sells it to a conservation buyer, typically a local rancher.

Using RHP, Ducks Unlimited will protect the 1,760-acre Pintail Flat property in Phillips County. DU is working with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to ensure perpetual grassland management and public access for hunting. DU will sell the property to a local rancher, honoring traditional land uses.

The parcel, dominated by grassland and seasonal wetlands, is next to waterfowl production areas, refuges and major wetland complexes. Nesting waterfowl, especially northern pintails, are attracted to the seasonal wetlands on this property.