Collaborative effort to save public lands domestic sheep grazing suspended in favor of a more closed process mandated by the Legislature and the Governor.

Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

Bighorn Sheep © Ken Cole

The Governor, Legislators, and sheepmen apparently didn’t like the direction the Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Advisory Group was headed so the whole effort was scuttled…… for now. Many of the groups participating in the group didn’t sound favorable to putting their stamp of approval on continuation of the status quo.

I guess all of those long meetings where bighorn sheep were hardly talked about didn’t amount to much. Now it’s time for people to give input into the process where “Best Management Practices” are developed cooperatively between the sheep permitees and the Idaho Fish and Game. Will they listen to outside input? Do they have to? Will the BMP’s be acceptable to the US Forest Service? Will the BMP’s continue the same old practices?

I received this message while I was away on vacation:

To all the individuals who have been involved in the Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Working Group:

After considerable discussion, we have decided to delay further meetings of the Bighorn Sheep/Domestic Sheep Working Group. As most of you are aware, a new statute is in place, S1232a, which directs Idaho Fish and Game to “within ninety (90) days of the effective date of this act will cooperatively develop best management practices with the permittee(s) on the allotment(s).” Under this timeline the Idaho Department of Fish and Game with the Idaho Department of Agriculture will be very busy working with individual producers to develop best management practices. Unfortunately, this timeline will not accommodate a collaborative process.

We do intend to reconvene the working group in late summer or early fall and appreciate everyone’s effort to date. Additionally, we would like to invite all working group participants to submit BMP comments to IDFG within the 90 day period.


Brian Oakey
Deputy Director
Idaho Department of Agriculture

Jim Unsworth
Deputy Director
Idaho Department of Fish and Game

About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is the interim Idaho Director for Western Watersheds Project. We do not accept unsolicited “guest” authors or advertising.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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