Common sense and the best interests of Western wildlife prevailed last week when Representative Mike Simpson withdrew his policy rider to the House appropriations bill for interior, environment and related agencies. The amendment would have prevented the implementation of a management plan in the Payette National Forest in Idaho that would separate bighorn sheep from domestic sheep grazing on public lands.
Keeping the two species apart is critical in the effort to prevent the transmission of a fatal respiratory disease from domestic sheep and goats to bighorn sheep. The respiratory disease has devastated populations of bighorn sheep throughout the West.
Not only was the removal of the rider a victory for wild sheep, it was a win for science-based policy and the consensus on grazing that’s been forged between wildlife professionals, range managers and the hunting community.
The TRCP, Wild Sheep Foundation, Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies and others look forward to working with Representative Simpson and others to conserve wild sheep in Idaho and other western states.
Steven Rinella, host of “MeatEater” addressed issues with exotic and invasive species in a recent episode of “TRCP’s Conservation Field Notes.”