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Habitat Enhancement & Protection


Without habitat, there would be no wild sheep. WSF has a long and notable record of supporting wild sheep habitat enhancements, ranging from prescribed burning to water development, and from noxious weed control to supporting travel management. Periodically, WSF strategically partners with other individuals and organizations to secure permanent conservation easements and/or land acquisitions on parcels that provide crucial wild sheep habitat.

Prescribed Burns

Prescribed burning is a powerful management tool for enhancing wildlife habitat. It benefits wild sheep by increasing the nutritional value of vegetation and opening cover for safe travel in predator-rich areas. WSF is helping fund prescribed burns in a proven winter and lambing areas. One such project is set for NE British Columbia. The annual treatment will impact 1,200-2,500 acres of crucial habitat during spring. WSF and partner funding have helped purchase materials needed for aerial ignition, helicopter fuel, flights to survey habitat and lamb recruitment as well as wildlife consulting fees.



This video was produced from a scientific presentation during the  Wildlife Professionals meeting held during the Wild Sheep Foundation’s 2020 Sheep Show® convention in Reno, Nevada. In this video, Stuart Jennings introduces a new and exciting enhanced soil fertility technology that can be used to manage or minimize “cheatgrass” and other annual grass infestations. In addition to mitigating cheatgrass, this method restores key soil nutrients that enhance growth of perennial grass species, improves habitat for wild sheep and other wildlife species and is important to agriculture. 

Why is this important? Cheatgrass is widespread throughout western North America and is increasing, negatively impacting millions of acres of wildlife habitat and native rangeland. 

Like most vegetation treatments, synthetic herbicides may be useful in controlling invasive species, but often result in impacts to non-target native plant species and typically require annual application. Stuart’s non-herbicidal approach enhances native perennials using unique formulations of naturally-occurring mineral fertilizers, allowing native plants to compete favorably with invasives using one-time treatments. These treatments do not harm the native plant seed bank in the soil, allowing for accelerated natural restoration of native plant communities following treatment. 


Desert sheep at water guzzler in New Mexico
Desert sheep utilizing a guzzler installed as part of the landscape-scale water project on BLM-managed public lands in New Mexico.

Water has always been a precious commodity in North America's arid regions.

Desert bighorn sheep are facing increasingly prevalent water issues as these game animals compete with expanding human needs and extreme environmental conditions. WSF and its chapters and affiliates have long supported water developments such as "guzzlers" where desert sheep roam.

"Guzzlers" are devices made to catch and store water and distribute it to drinking troughs that attract desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife.

Free-standing water is only available seasonally in the desert, and drought conditions typically coincide with the final trimester of lamb gestation and subsequent lamb survival. Guzzlers fill in much-needed gaps in water supplies during these crucial times.

Water development projects give desert bighorn sheep a needed edge for survival in their harsh habitat and benefit other wildlife such as mule deer, javelina, and a host of small mammals and birds.

Installation of the Muddy Mountains guzzler project in Nevada, January 2024.

Water Development Resources

AWCP Sign On Letter to Sec. Zinke
Download the full AWCP Sign-on Letter regarding Water Development
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