Sheep Experiment Station produces its first environmental analysis (EA) in its history

After many years in existence, Sheep Experiment State does NEPA analysis on their operations-

According to their web site the Sheep Experiment Station’s mission is  “to develop integrated methods for increasing production efficiency of sheep and to simultaneously improve the sustainability of rangeland ecosystems.” OK, but maybe folks would like to know the details.

For 90 years this large “research” operation in the Centennial Mountains on the Idaho/Montana border (Continental Divide), headquartered at Dubois, Idaho, has been a mystery to me.  It was also a mystery to Western Watersheds Project, NRDC, and the Center for Biological Diversity. So they sued and settled when the Station agreed to do an environmental analysis.

Now the EA is available for your information and comments (due by January 12). Here is the link to the EA.

The Station occupies a critical wildlife travel corridor between the greater Yellowstone area and central Idaho/SW Montana. It is vital for grizzly bears. We think there are also bighorn sheep on Mt. Jefferson, or at least used to be. I haven’t read the EA yet, but one person who has told me the analysis of this matter is poor.

This seems to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. So hopefully folks will take the time to look through it and comment. They only gave a one month comment period, although the NRDC has asked for an extension.

12-23-09. The comment period has been extended for two more weeks (to Jan. 25). Comments should be sent to


  1. nabeki Avatar

    I will definitely be commenting. That behmouth needs to be closed. It got the Sage Creek Pack killed, they were roaming that wildlife corridor and could have provided Yellowstone wolves with some genetic exchange…now they’re history along with the over 200 wolves that have died in Montana in 2009 with more on the way. This might be the worst year I’ve ever spent in Montana.

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar

    rumor has it the deadline will be extended 2 weeks (i.e. verbal but as of yet no written agreement to extend the deadline)

  3. Nathan Hobbs Avatar
    Nathan Hobbs

    what is the highest population of sheep that have been on this station historically?

  4. Larry Thorngren Avatar

    The sheep experiment station grazes domestic sheep in two places that are too close to bighorns. The Snakey allotment near Birch Creek and the Bernice allotment on the Little Lost Drainage both have the potential to destroy small bands of bighorns that were re-established in the 1970s. Alternative # 5 would stop the winter grazing on these allotments. Removing domestic sheep off of public lands in these two areas is much needed. Both allotments have substantial areas that would be good bighorn winter range if the dometic sheep were not present.
    The University of Idaho is the owner of these domestic sheep and receives government subsidies for meat and wool from all experiment station sheep sold each year. No private woolgrowers would be hurt by removing domestic sheep from these two allotments.

  5. James Wolf Avatar

    Can you send me a copy of the Sheep Experiment Station EA, as I was unable to find it online by searching or using links?

    Thank you.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan