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BLM advises grazing reduction in Montana

BUTTE, Mont. (AP) -- The Bureau of Land Management is asking ranchers in southwestern Montana to reduce grazing on public lands due to drought.

The agency on Friday asked those with grazing permits to graze no more than 70 percent of their allotted forage on land administered by its Butte and Dillon field offices.

Public land users can decrease the number of livestock or the length of time livestock spend on public lands or a combination of the two management strategies to reduce grazing.

The counties affected are: Beaverhead, Madison, Jefferson, Gallatin, Lewis and Clark, Broadwater, Silver Bow and Park counties. The U.S. Drought Monitor says southwestern Montana faces climate conditions ranging from abnormally dry to severe drought.

If soil moisture improves substantially this spring, the BLM says additional livestock use may be authorized.