Just introduced today.

A new bill was introduced this morning which appears to replace SB 1175.  The bill is virtually identical to SB 1175 except for the following changes:

S1232 F&G, bighorn sheep relocation

(E) The Idaho department of fish and game: (1) shall develop a state management plan to maintain a viable, self-sustaining population of bighorn sheep in Idaho; and (2) within one hundred twenty (120) days of the effective date of this act will cooperatively develop best management practices with permittees for their federal and state grazing allotments that include or adjoin core populations of bighorn sheep as determined by the department. Upon commencement of the implementation of best management practices, the director shall certify that the potential risk of disease transmission, if any, between bighorn and domestic sheep is acceptable for the viability of the bighorn sheep core population. The director’s certification shall continue for as long as the best management practices are implemented by the permittee. The director may also certify that the potential risk of disease transmission, if any, between bighorn and domestic sheep is acceptable for the viability of the bighorn sheep core population based upon a finding that other factors exist, including but not limited to previous exposure to pathogens that make separation between bighorn and domestic sheep unnecessary

This is the previous language from SB1175

(E) Should any bighorn sheep graze, stray or drift upon, or in close proximity to, any private, state or federal lands that have any domestic sheep use, or have any domestic sheep allotments administered by the bureau of land management, the U.S. forest service or the Idaho department of lands, the director shall relocate or control the bighorn sheep to ensure that appropriate separation between the bighorn sheep and the domestic sheep is maintained, unless the director certifies that the risk of disease transmission, if any, between the bighorn sheep and the domestic sheep is acceptable. This certification may be based upon:
(i) An agreement regarding a separation strategy between the bighorn sheep and the domestic sheep entered into by the owners of the domestic sheep and the director or his designee; or
(ii) A finding by the director that the bighorn sheep have already been exposed to certain pathogens that makes separation between the bighorn sheep and the domestic sheep unwarranted.

Update: Idaho Legislature considering a compromise to keep sheep collaboration alive
Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman

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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Buffalo Field Campaign's Executive Director, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He was formerly the Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project.

19 Responses to Yet Another Bighorn Sheep Related Bill

  1. avatar Ken Cole says:

    So this appears to be attempt to draw a circle around existing, and declining populations of bighorn sheep to keep them from expanding into historic habitat and to sacrifice populations that may interact with domestic sheep. Same BS different day.

    This does not address what is happening to the herds in central Idaho, which are native.

    There is more in the bill, I just posted what has been hotly discussed. This bill appears to replace SB1175 which is virtually identical except for what I posted here.

  2. avatar Ken Cole says:

    There is this gem too:

    (7) Special Wolf Tags. The commission is hereby authorized to issue up to ten (10) special auction or lottery tags for hunting wolves. Special wolf tags will be auctioned off or made available through lottery by incorporated nonprofit organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation and selected by the director. No more than five percent (5%) of all proceeds for each tag may be retained by the nonprofit organization for administrative costs involved. Each wolf tag shall be issued by the department of fish and game and awarded to the highest eligible bidder or winner of a lottery. Each tag will be good for the harvest of one (1) wolf pursuant to commission rule. The proceeds from each tag will be sent to the director to be placed in the department general license fund.

    Could one of those non-profit organizations be Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife who has lobbied the legislature to kill wolves?

    And where is SFW on the bighorn issue? They’ve been utterly silent. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to offend their livestock industry sponsors.

  3. avatar Ken Cole says:

    I might add that the wolf tag auction language was in the previous bill SB1175

    Also, aren’t the Idaho Woolgrowers and Cattle Associations non-profits? Are they going to benefit from wolf tags? This would be unacceptable.

  4. avatar kt says:

    ALL the rest of the Bill is the same, right? You might want to post the whole Bill below these excerpts – so people know all the rest that is in it.

    This is just an effort to have more sham “public” meetings, and then the ranchers will dictate to Fish and Game behind closed doors where bighorn sheep may live (die). A one or two token areas – where the Woolgrower trail of disease does not reach -will be found to be “core” bighorn areas.

    It is rotten to the “core”! It is an effort to keep sheep, like wolves, confined to a hand full of areas not currently grazed by livestock.

    The “core” population will be used to define-away EXISTING bighorn populations over much of the state.

    At present, bighorn sheep are found only in a fraction of the areas that are Idaho public lands, and that are suitable for bighorns. This Bill would make that an even smaller fraction.

  5. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Yes, except for a few minor things which I don’t quite understand the significance of and the above posted differences, this bill is the same as SB1175.

  6. avatar Ken Cole says:

    In my haste I overlooked that the non-profit groups must be “incorporated nonprofit organizations dedicated to wildlife conservation”

    I still don’t see how SFW could qualify. They only seem to be dedicated to killing wildlife.

  7. avatar DB says:

    And what if the Tribes, the FS, scientists, the public don’t agree on this “core population” concept? Or on “potential risk of disease transmission”, or BMPs? And how does the state get to insert itself into the administration of federal grazing permits? Who monitors BMP compliance? These legislators don’t hear a thing, don’t have a clue. Someone said there should be articles written, these guys should be studied. Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

  8. avatar kt says:

    DB: The Western Governor’s Association (i. e. industry especially those exploiting public lands) is making a big move to base sage-grouse conservation on “core populations”.

    That way, they can write off sage-grouse over large areas, write-off habitat restoration, and confine sage-grouse to only a few remaining areas – and ignore the rest. The rest goes to Hell because it is cowed, domestic-sheeped, transmission-lined, wind-milled, drilled to death. It will result in a while lot of public land, that may be valuable for everything from Open Space to butterflies, to trout streams. Some enviro groups are buying off on that – and moving to base mapping efforts for Renewables vs. Non-Renewables from what the WGA comes up with. Ignoring that ANYTHING a group that has the likes of Jim Gibbons and Butch Otter and their muzzled and corraled biologists under the current political repression climate in it , is not going to be coming up with real conservation …

    It all seems part, too, of the effort underway to back-door in what is essentially Zoning of Public lands. And have there be a LOT of expendable, second-class public lands …

  9. avatar kt says:

    I meant to say above – accelerated MORE DAMAGE TO – a lot of land that may be valuable for open space, butterflies …

  10. avatar kt says:

    Sorry! I still mis-typed.

    I can’t quite recall – but I think Siddoway at the collaborative bighorn meeting – in a fumbling response to a question on his Bill, responded that some of this could be sort of like the Wolf areas where everybody focuses on making sure wolves are not too close to livestock. Someone I know facetiously dubbed this token effort of Defenders by Sun Valley last summer as “sleeping with sheep” (domestic). THAT is what in Siddoway’s mind is acceptable. Utter cosseting of, and capitulating to, stockmen in a few token areas.

  11. avatar outsider says:

    So Ken why not request tags for WWP and DOW then you could control who gets them and not use them?

  12. avatar Ken Cole says:

    Do you honestly think that IDFG would give WWP any tags? It’s left to the discretion of the IDFG director.

    Also, if a tag went unused then IDFG would compensate by issuing another $10 tag to kill a wolf anyway.

  13. avatar kt says:

    A “compromise? Only if we add “d” on the end of that word, as in “a compromised piece of legislation”.

    The gall of Siddoway. There he was rambling in front of the Bighorn group, and afterwards when questions were asked, the Shoshone Bannock Fort Hall Representative said there wasn’t anything in the First Bill for the Tribes, and I sure don’t see anything in the second Bill, either. What are they to do? Wire tap the meetings where IDFG sits in on meetings between Forest Service/BLM and ranchers, and IDFG like Pavlov’s dog nods its state wildlife agency head whenever the rancher says something?

    I am wondering if the “core” habitat Siddoway, Shirts, Otter et al. have in mind is a new pen out by the giraffe cage at the Boise zoo?

  14. avatar kt says:

    So this morning there are more news stories about swine flu, a disease originally found in pigs but now mutated to infect humans. And thatis killing people.

    Here in medieval/feudal Idaho, elected officials lie about disease – specifically disease transmission between domestic sheep and bighorn sheep. To protect a tiny cabal of public lands ranchers.

    State elected officials like Siddoway who keeps churning out these Bills, and apparently Butch Otter, are wedded to upholding the myths of the 15 Idaho Woolgrowers and a state-paid “scientist” from Caine Vet Center who makes false testimony to the Legislature about disease transmission and promotes the myths of the Woolgrowers. The University Of Idaho’s Caine Vet Center works with/plays around with disease organisms of animals. Any facility and researchers doing that must be honest and upfront with the public. Instead, disease is being denied.

    Otter encouraged and abetted in lying about domestic sheep (which are notorious walking germ and parasite factories – including having diseases like anthrax) disease from Day 1 of a Bighorn Collaborative Group effort.

    In January of 2008, the first Bighorn group meeting was held under Otter’s orders. A GROUND RULE and EDICT from Otter at the first meeting was that the group could talk about separation, but not DISEASE. Why? Well, the Woolgrowers and the lies coming from Caine, a U of I facility, were that it had not been proven that bighorns die from contact with domestic sheep. Googling shows this facility works with things like prions, too – which is equally alarming. ANYWAY – after a couple of meetings, the Collaborative group had no more, since the Legislature went home, and Otter had achieved his goal with the Collab group – keep the Legislature from doing something crazy, WHILE continuing to uphold the lies and myths of the public lands Woolgrowers.

    In issues of disease, it is Otter’s duty as Governor to be honest. He has not been. He has encouraged the lies of the public lands livestock industry who refuse to live in the 21st century.

    Now flash forward to winter-spring 2009. The Legislature is back in town, and it looks like they will be around a long time squabbling over stimulus pork. The Collaborative group suddenly has another meeting or two. The ranchers, sesngin they are not going to be able to control the outcome, go crying to Siddoway, a fellow sheep rancher and captive elk rancher (a combination that sounds like its own prion CWD, CJD etc. factory???). Siddoway introduces the sheep Bill. Rigged hearings are held in front of the legislature, and Woolgrowers lie about disease. Instead of calling in credible scientists, not the enablers of public lands ranching, the Leg hears from quacks.

    The next Collaborative meeting is held. Siddoway shows up. He is asked to explain his Bill. He fumbles around. He repeats one of the favorite claims of the Disease liars: that “maybe the bighorns are dying from other things too”. He specifically mentions in that context that the bighorns might be dying from it being too hot in Hells Canyon.

    Is Siddoway really this dim? There are those who think he may be – and after his fumbling to explain what the Bill said, maybe so. BUT either way – this is dangerous stuff. This is disease we are talking about, researchers at state-run facilities that deny disease transmission AND are involved in playing around with microbes on the state (and likely federal) tax payer’s dime. And who are trying to get $900,000 more to play around some more.

    And again, Otter has encouraged this fiasco, by not saying from Day One to the 15 Woolgrowers in all of Idaho – the Shirts, Soulen, Carlson folks – that it is time to leave the 15th century. The overwhelming body of scientific evidence shows bighorns die from contact with domestic sheep. Quit lying or creating smokescreens. You have been on the public dole forever, and it is time to enter the real world.

    The latest version of the Siddoway Bill has the same tainted origins – based on lies and myths spun to the Legislature. It rewards lies.

    So here is a question to ponder, too. If the elected officials of the state of Idaho (Otter, Siddoway) will go to such lengths to cover up for domestic sheep diseases – what lengths will they go to cover up for the cattle industry? Remember, Butch is Simplot, the Nation’s largest public lands cattle operator and a huge confined feedlot operator —- ex-son-in-law and fancies himself a cowboy … What strains of new antibiotic-resistant microbes ARE coming out of Idaho’s CAFOs? Will Caine/the U of I be involved in covering up?

    This whole situation in Idaho where the entire power structure of the state covers up for public lands ranchers – including through facilities operated by a Land Grant college – is crying for strong federal oversight and intervention. including from the Center for Disease Control and the USDA.

  15. avatar Brian Ertz says:

    domestic sheep spread a few diseases on to humans as well – one of which is common is the potentially deadly “Q-fever” which is among the most contagious diseases known of. Forests maps used to include a warning to recreationists to avoid domestic sheep for this very reason, but those warnings went away and it was not because the threat has been remedied. Immigrant workers who tend the sheep are frequently sick, as written accounts attest, and have no access to medical care – are even threatened with deportation if they don’t get back to work. The fever can take days to set in, might not for this with robust immune systems, and often people do not even realize that it was that hike with an encounter with domestic sheep that made them fall ill.

    People should be careful in public lands with domestic sheep present. Those animals are petri-dishes of disease.

  16. avatar kt says:

    Brian: Didn’t you have a great Biohazard sheep image put together? Domestic sheep owned by one of the Hells Canyon domestic sheep grazers after he bought Idaho Lt. Governor Little’s permit – have already been run through parts of the Boise Foothills.

    Yes, these are the same Boise foothills where some folks raise a big stink over dog waste. How many tons of domestic sheep waste are deposited annually? And what is in that waste? I had a friend whose dog got really bad diarrhea several years ago after being out on public lands (this case around cows), and the Vet she took the dog to said the dog had Giardia.

    Someone should post “Biohazard” signs up in the Foothills!

    I wonder if the Foothills soil has ever been examined for Q fever? That disease persists in the soil for extended periods of time, right? I guess one would need to send the soil samples out of state, for testing for Q fever though.

    The U of I facilities couldn’t be trusted to tell the truth.

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