A Montana panel overseeing a sage grouse conservation plan has finalized guidelines for awarding $10 million in grants to help boost habitat for the imperiled bird.

Meanwhile, state officials say they have evaluated most of the 112 projects proposed within prime habitat areas for the sage grouse.

Officials with the Montana Sage Grouse Oversight Team said Friday that they will begin accepting applications as soon as early next month and could begin awarding grants in May.

Last year, federal officials announced restrictions on 67 million acres of public lands in 11 states, including Montana, to protect sage grouse habitat and prevent it from becoming a threatened or endangered species. Montana is taking its own measures to protect sage grouse habitat on state lands.