Grazing may cease to protect bighorns

Grazing domestic sheep in bighorn habitat exposes bighorn to deadly disease and massive die-offs.  Western Watersheds Project successfully brought this point to the Payette National Forest via federal court winning a temporary halt to grazing domestic sheep in the critical bighorn habitat of Hells Canyon and the Salmon River.  Because of these decisions, the Payette National Forest is amidst an environmental review of domestic sheep grazing in bighorn habitat on the Forest, in its released draft EIS the Forest is finally proposing to end domestic sheep grazing in these critical bighorn habitats.

Grazing may cease to protect bighorns – Idaho Statesman







  1. Ryan Avatar

    I hope this proposal makes it. This is some of the bast news I have read recently.

  2. kt Avatar

    Ryan – Yes! Let’s hope this makes it.

    On a related matter: I understand there is an Idaho Dept. of Ag/IDFG meeting tomorrow about Butch Otter’s “Idaho Policy” for bighorns. Expect weeping and wailing from Mr. Boyd, the Woolgrower/Canned Elk Hunt lobbyist, the Farm Bureau types, 3 or 4 sheepmen bloated on their own self-importance, and Butch’s own state anti-scientist lavishly supported with those eve-scarcer Idaho state tax dollars at the Caine Vet Lab …

    From my understanding, this is supposed to be a resumption of meetings from last winter where the interim Idaho State Policy was derived from a process where NO ONE – not even the Idaho Fish and Game sheep bio Jim Unsworth or the Ag Dept representative – let alone the poor peons from the public – was allowed to talk about DISEASE transmission between domestic sheep and bighorns.

    Will Butch and the State of Idaho continue their march backwards in time? Will the Idaho Woolgrower Officer/Caine Vet lab researcher who contends that contact between bighorns and domestic sheep is NOT the cause of bighorns dying from pneumonia or a host of other debilitating diseases transmitted by domestic sheep be herded off to retirement, and the state continue on a sane path?

    Or will Idaho retreat deeper further backwards in deep time into the 19th century? Or the 13th?

  3. Tilly Avatar

    I thought it was funny that Rocky didn’t mention who had initiated the lawsuit that inspired the Judge to order sheep off of the forest! (WWP). He makes it sound like the Judge just spontaneously did it.

    I think it’s because even he has to agree that the suit ended well for wildlife, and he so enjoys calling WWP the “wing nuts.”

  4. Brian Ertz Avatar


    get used to that one, it’s been decided. Either way, the bighorn look to be in a better position.

    FYI – A choice quote from today’s statesman :

    Still, their ability to work together is often controlled by the extremes. On the environmental side it is activists opposing all public-lands grazing, while on the other side it is groups that want to eliminate the Federal Reserve and rescind the Endangered Species Act.

    it’s bias – as if some preconceived “moderation” ought trump the circumstance on the ground, the advocacy, the wildlife, and be an end in itself. just like the article it comes out of suggestive that Idaho republicans are “green”. there’s an agenda.

  5. Tilly Avatar

    And Brian didn’t even list the “best” part, the concluding sentence!

    “The wing nuts on both sides define what the people in the middle do,” [Sen. Brad] Little said.

    Rocky liked that quote so much that he ended 2 articles with it in one week, his blog’s article on the HCN forum and the article you linked above.

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Brian Ertz