Secretary Zinke Proposes 20 Year Mineral Withdrawal Renewal for Wyoming Bighorn Sheep Winter Range
Whiskey Mountain Bighorn Sheep Winter Range supports one of the largest wintering herds of Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in North America and draws thousands of people annually. For nearly 50 years, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and the U.S. Forest Service have coordinated the management and enhancement of bighorn sheep and their habitat on Whiskey Mountain. The proposed extension will withdraw 1,431 acres of Federal land from location or entry under the U.S. mining laws, but not from leasing under the mineral leasing laws. Public land order 7434 established this withdrawal in 2000 and will expire unless the mineral withdraw is extended. The public land order that established this withdrawal in 2000 will expire unless the mineral withdrawal is extended.
Bighorn sheep transplants may be spreading pathogens
Bighorn sheep have had a hard time in many areas of Montana. Pathogens that can cause deadly pneumonia are the biggest problem. Research by MSU and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks scientists is showing that transplanting bighorns may have hurt the herds in some cases. The studies have shown that different groups may carry slightly different pathogens. If a sheep with a different pathogen is introduced, a herd might not have immunity. The findings are frustrating attempts to restore bighorns to more areas across the state. The exception seems to be bighorn sheep living in the Missouri Breaks. Those herds are doing extremely well. The studies are continuing and will hopefully provide some answers to a long-standing problem.
Wild Sheep Foundation's Response
Mojave National Preserve News Release
Extension of Public Comment Period & Public Meeting for Management Plan for Developed Water Sources and Environmental Assessment, Mojave National Preserve