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Senators Seek Additional Work on Sheep Issues

Call for Collaboration, Research in Bighorn and Domestic Sheep Conflicts

July 30, 2010

Washington, DC – Idaho Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo today called for additional collaboration and research in an attempt to resolve issues between wild bighorn sheep and domestic sheep utilizing public lands for grazing. The Payette National Forest has issued a ruling curtailing domestic sheep grazing over concerns about disease spreading from domestic to wild sheep.

"While the decision by the Payette National Forest has been released, the bighorn and domestic sheep issue is far from resolved,” the Senators said. “There will be a 45-day appeal period followed by a facilitated appeal resolution process, which will allow the appellants to work constructively on a mutually-agreeable solution for the Payette.

“Work must also continue with the appropriate agencies and sheep operators on strategies to maintain adequate separation to minimize risks. We also support increased research that can lead to a vaccine that will protect bighorn sheep from disease transmission.

“We understand the difficulty of this decision, not only for the sheep operators, but also for the Forest Service. It is unfortunate that so many of our natural resource issues find their way into the courtroom as a means of resolution."