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Conservationists tout Indiana's old mines and brownfields to develop renewable energy; Louisiana becomes 1st state to require the display of the Ten Commandments in public schools; Black Hills Visitor Center under new joint tribal, federal oversight; Judge set to rule on massive MT logging project.

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Former President Donald Trump says he loves Milwaukee, civil rights groups reject designated protest zones for the RNC convention and a New York Equal Rights Amendment is restored to the November ballot.

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Rural educators say they need support to teach kids social issues, rural businesses can suffer when dollar stores come to town, prairie states like South Dakota are getting help to protect grasslands and a Minnesota town claims the oldest rural Pride Festival.

Bird Secured Thanks to Partnerships

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015   

OVANDO, Mont. - Homegrown Montana solutions are being credited as part of the reason the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided not to list the greater sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

Natural Resources Conservation Service chief Jason Weller noted that much has been done on the ground to keep sagebrush landscapes healthy as a western way of life.

"The state of Montana dedicated and invested millions of dollars to partner with NRCS to work with ranchers in eastern Montana to help improve the health and protect the range," he said, "both for ranching but also for sage-grouse."

The Interior Department also finalized management plans for Bureau of Land Management sagebrush habitats that are designed to help not just sage-grouse but hundreds of other species while also keeping those lands working for ranching, development and recreation.

While there is some political back-and-forth about it all, said Ovando rancher Jim Stone, he sees this as the future of land management - one based on partnerships.

"What this whole thing means to me is opportunity," he said. "It's given us the chance as landowners, land managers, to step up and really talk about the things that are important to us, and managing land and managing the public's wildlife."

Greater sage-grouse populations have dropped by 95 percent from their historic numbers. The Fish and Wildlife Service reports that some populations have rebounded and others may still see declines until conservation efforts are implemented.

The FWS decision is online at fws.gov.


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