U.S. Forest Service: How To Balance Bighorn Sheep, Domestic Grazing Needs

The U.S. Forest Service is seeking to balance Bighorn Sheep with domestic grazing needs. The federal agency is taking public comment on an environmental analysis at the same time, as Marcus Bellissimo reports.

Bighorn sheep have made a comeback in Washington since almost disappearing from the state by the 1930’s due to over-hunting, disease, and habitat loss.

Currently Washington is home to an estimated 1,700 wild bighorn sheep which range in 17 herds, from near the Canadian boarder to Yakima. Ten of those 17 herds range on the public lands of the National Forest, but those herds may be at risk of pneumonia, a deadly respiratory disease typically initiated by spillover events of bacteria from domestic sheep and goats.

The Forest Service is hosting an open-house addressing an environmental analysis process looking to update forest plans on grazing allotments, and looking for public comment on the issue. The open house is tomorrow at the Cle Elum Ranger Station from 6-7:30 p.m.

The Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest will also host a Facebook live event at the same time on its Facebook page.

The open comment period ends July 6.

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