Jul 27 2010

Space for the bighorns

Published by at 4:04 pm under Idaho

sheep
/Payette National Forest

Remember some months back when a big blowup occurred over University of Idaho studies of whether diseases and other problems associated with domestic sheep might harm wild bighorn sheep?

Today, the upshot demonstrating why that was a blowup: A Payette National Forest record of decision restricting agricultural sheep to less than a third of the land they historically have used. It was written – and decided – by Payette Forest Supervisor Suzanne Rainville.

Here’s background from the decision:

Only portions of two bighorn sheep metapopulations remain on the Payette National Forest, one within Hells Canyon of the Snake River and the other among the Salmon River Mountains. Historically, these populations were likely connected by suitable habitats between the two major drainages and recently, bighorn sheep have been observed travelling from Hells Canyon to the Salmon River and back again. More than 10,000 bighorn sheep may have once lived in the Hells Canyon and surrounding mountains, but they were extirpated by the mid-1940s. Through reintroduction, 474 bighorn sheep were transplanted into Hells Canyon between 1971 and 2004. Seven die-offs have been reported since 1971. Today, the population is estimated at 850 animals. The Salmon River metapopulation was never extirpated. Winter population surveys conducted in 2001,2003, and 2004 document at least 508 bighorn sheep within the various drainages of the Salmon River and 210 bighorn sheep in the South Fork Salmon River and Main Salmon River. Historic accounts of major die-offs of bighorn sheep in the Salmon River Mountains began in approximately 1870. The population has experienced periodic die-offs and population decline since that time. The current estimated numbers of bighorn sheep in hunting units in and around the Payette National Forest has decreased 47 percent since 1981.

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, large numbers of domestic sheep were grazed on the Payette National Forest. In 1915, 174,445 sheep were permitted to graze on the Payette National Forest. This number declined throughout the 20 century to around 18,300 in 2009. Today, four pennittees are authorized through term grazing permits to graze sheep on the Payette National Forest. Both statutory and case laws infer that a term grazing permit represents a privilege, not a prope11y right, to use National Forest System lands and resources. Procedures exist to modify or cancel term grazing permits. Although the Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act of 1960 directs that National Forests provide for multiple uses, such as range, it also states that some land will be used for less than all resources and periodic adjustments in use to conform to changing needs and conditions are allowed.

The decision says flatly what a number of others have danced around: “A long history of large-scale, rapid, all-age die-offs in bighorn sheep has been documented across Canada and the United States, many presumed associated with domestic animal contact (Shackleton 1999). Although limited knowledge of transmission dynamics exists (Garde et al. 2005), extensive scientific literature supports a relationship between disease in bighorn sheep populations and contact with domestic sheep.”

The decision limits to a large degree the areas where domestic sheep can roam.

And as to the research suggesting little danger from domestic sheep, there’s this:

“Despite the large body of evidence, the economic consequences of restricting domestic sheep grazing have polarized the issue. Some scientists and others, primarily from agricultural disciplines, contend that disease transmission between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep is not a relevant factor in bighorn sheep distribution and population declines in the wildland environment. I have taken these arguments into consideration while making my decision. I considered the degree of scientific uncertainty concerning the risk of foray contact and potential disease transmission. Arguably, much of the evidence is circumstantial; however, the compilation of cases throughout several decades does contribute to an increasing body of evidence that overwhelmingly demonstrates bighorn sheep near domestics are at risk for disease transmission, even though “contact” may not have actually been observed.”

She also says, “I am sure that my decision will not satisfy everyone.” That may be the one statement here everyone will agree with.

Call this one another big resource issue on the hoof.

Share on Facebook

Comments Off

Comments are closed at this time.

Share on Facebook

 


Pike Place's plans for a new waterfront entrance.

 

THE OREGON POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

The Field Guide is the reference for the year on Oregon politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Compiled by a long-time Northwest political writer and a Salem Statesman-Journal political reporter.
OREGON POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Hannah Hoffman; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
THE IDAHO POLITICAL
FIELD GUIDE 2014

by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase is the reference for the year on Idaho Politics - the people, the districts, the votes, the issues. Written by two of Idaho's most veteran politcal observers.
IDAHO POLITICAL FIELD GUIDE 2014, by Randy Stapilus and Marty Trillhaase; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. $15.95, available right here or through Amazon.com (softcover)

 
 
NEW EDITIONS is the story of the Northwest's 226 general-circulation newspapers and how they're dealing with the day of the Internet. New Editions tells you where your newspaper is headed.
New Editions: The Northwest's Newspapers as They Were, Are and Will Be. Steve Bagwell and Randy Stapilus; Ridenbaugh Press, Carlton, Oregon. 324 pages. Softcover. (e-book ahead). $16.95.
See the NEW EDITIONS page.

How many copies?

 
without compromise
WITHOUT COMPROMISE is the story of the Idaho State Police, from barely-functioning motor vehicles and hardly-there roads to computer and biotechnology. Kelly Kast has spent years researching the history and interviewing scores of current and former state police, and has emerged with a detailed and engrossing story of Idaho.
WITHOUT COMPROMISE page.

 

Diamondfield
How many copies?
The Old West saw few murder trials more spectacular or misunderstood than of "Diamondfield" Jack Davis. After years of brushes with the noose, Davis was pardoned - though many continued to believe him guilty. Max Black has spent years researching the Diamondfield saga and found startling new evidence never before uncovered - including the weapon and one of the bullets involved in the crime, and important documents - and now sets out the definitive story. Here too is Black's story - how he found key elements, presumed lost forever, of a fabulous Old West story.
See the DIAMONDFIELD page for more.
 

Medimont Reflections Chris Carlson's Medimont Reflections is a followup on his biography of former Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus. This one expands the view, bringing in Carlson's take on Idaho politics, the Northwest energy planning council, environmental issues and much more. The Idaho Statesman: "a pull-back-the-curtain account of his 40 years as a player in public life in Idaho." Available here: $15.95 plus shipping.
See the Medimont Reflections page  
 
Idaho 100 NOW IN KINDLE
 
Idaho 100, about the 100 most influential people ever in Idaho, by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson is now available. This is the book about to become the talk of the state - who really made Idaho the way it is? NOW AN E-BOOK AVAILABLE THROUGH KINDLE for just $2.99. Or, only $15.95 plus shipping.
 

Idaho 100 by Randy Stapilus and Martin Peterson. Order the Kindle at Amazon.com. For the print edition, order here or at Amazon.


 

    Top-Story-graphic-300x200_topstory8
    Monday mornings on KLIX-AM

    watergates

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Randy Stapilus

    Water rights and water wars: They’re not just a western movie any more. The Water Gates reviews water supplies, uses and rights to use water in all 50 states.242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    intermediary

    ORDER IT HERE or on Amazon.com

    More about this book by Lin Tull Cannell

    At a time when Americans were only exploring what are now western states, William Craig tried to broker peace between native Nez Perces and newcomers from the East. 15 years in the making, this is one of the most dramatic stories of early Northwest history. 242 pages, available from Ridenbaugh Press, $15.95

    Upstream

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    The Snake River Basin Adjudication is one of the largest water adjudications the United States has ever seen, and it may be the most successful. Here's how it happened, from the pages of the SRBA Digest, for 16 years the independent source.

    Paradox Politics

    ORDER HERE or Amazon.com

    After 21 years, a 2nd edition. If you're interested in Idaho politics and never read the original, now's the time. If you've read the original, here's view from now.


    Governing Idaho:
    Politics, People and Power

    by James Weatherby
    and Randy Stapilus
    Caxton Press
    order here

    Outlaw Tales
    of Idaho

    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    It Happened in Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here

    Camping Idaho
    by Randy Stapilus
    Globe-Pequot Press
    order here