US Sheep Experiement Station

katqanna

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Weeks ago I had a news article from an ag site come on my feed from the USDA extension office in Idaho concerning the ARS sheep experiment station in Dubois - New committee defends sheep research station. It stated:
The University of Idaho and sheep industry stakeholders have formed a committee to prepare a document for Congress outlining why the USDA Agricultural Research Service U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho, should remain open.

Don Thill, UI’s director of the Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station, said the committee includes about 45 representatives from UI, the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Idaho Wool Growers, the Clark County Commission, Idaho’s congressional delegation, the Wild Sheep Foundation and other groups.

So I sent the link to a friend in Wild Sheep Foundation, asking if this was true, which started a flurry of conference calls. They had not been aware that was sent out by the extension service.

I got an email the other day with a WSF position statement to share.
Dear Donn: on behalf of the Wild Sheep Foundation and our Idaho and Montana WSF Chapters, please accept this statement regarding the USSES situation. Please share this WSF statement with the rest of the large group, if you deem appropriate. If anyone has questions, they may contact Doug Sayer, WSF Vice-Chair, or me at WSF HQ.

The Wild Sheep Foundation expresses our thanks and appreciation for being included in USSES discussions over the past month. We recognize the complexity of the current USSES situation, and we hope WSF has been able to positively contribute to these discussions and the resultant final version Executive Summary. WSF has been clear from the start that our conditional support for continued USSES operation is/was based on 3 major points:

1) the need for a revised, updated USSES Mission and Focus;

2) potential collaborative research on disease risks and transmission from domestic sheep to wild sheep; and

3) a clear understanding of future use of upper-elevation ARS parcels and USFS allotments (East Beaver and Meyers Creek in the Centennial Mountains, Snakey-Kelly in the South Beaverhead Mountains).

Through diligent efforts of both small- and large-groups, WSF agrees that the USSES Mission has been revised and updated, per the final Executive Summary; we think the Recommended Mission is a major improvement on the Current USSES Mission.

WSF also acknowledges discussions relative a Research Consortium, and we anticipate that wild sheep interests would be included in future discussions about specific research themes and disease investigations, including possible efforts by ARS to address our recommendation to investigate approaches to reduce or eliminate Mycoplasma ovipneumoniae in domestic sheep flocks, ranging in size from smaller, farm flocks to large bands on public land grazing allotments. Especially given discussion about a possible, yet-to-be-determined Advisory Committee, WSF anticipates, and supports, involvement of wild sheep disease researchers in collaborative study design, USSES footprint-size discussions, budget needs, potential external funding source(s) identification, and related topics.

Where WSF et al. remain most concerned is that over the past month, there has not been clear resolution reached as to future domestic sheep grazing by USSES on the ARS West Summer, East Summer, and Humphrey parcels or the involved USFS allotments (East Beaver and Meyers Creek in the Centennials, and Snakey-Kelly in the South Beaverheads). During Monday's (Feb. 23rd) large-group meeting, an October 1, 2015 deadline was chosen for future discussion on these stated parcels. While WSF pushed for a more prompt deadline for this determination, including involvement of both USFS and BLM managers, the USSES large group was not willing to undertake a more expeditious discussion. In our opinion, this is too late for this discussion to occur, given pending FY16 action by USDA/ARS and the Administration, and anticipated discussions/actions over the next 60-90 days.

In our opinion, this delay in having a criticially-needed discussion about future domestic sheep grazing in high-elevation parcels and allotments "kicks the can down the road", and defers meaningful resolution. There was clear agreement on Monday the 23rd that costs, challenges, and litigation will no doubt continue over domestic sheep grazing and wildlife conflicts in the Centennials and the Snakey-Kelly allotment. Over the past month, WSF has not seen consensus reached on this important issue. We have expressed our views clearly, as well as our standing offer(s) of assistance; those offers remain on the table. It is our hope that further, productive discussions can and will continue, and WSF restates our willingness to participate in further efforts to arrive at workable solutions. If further developments unfold, WSF is willing to resume our involvement in continuing discussions regarding the status and future of the USSES.

For these reasons, WSF respectfully states that we cannot endorse this final Executive Summary, and we request that Doug Sayer’s name and listing WSF as a contact for further information be removed from the bottom of this Executive Summary.

This article just came out. Wild Sheep Foundation Asks for Collaboration with U.S. Sheep Experiment Station

After five weeks of intense discussions and lengthy email exchanges, the Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) announced it has been unable to reach a workable solution with domestic sheep industry representatives from Idaho and elsewhere on future operations of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station (USSES).

“While productive discussions were held on collaborative disease research and a revised Recommended Mission was developed, an agreement was not achieved with domestic sheep interests on timely strategies to reduce risk of wildlife conflicts in higher-elevation locales,” said WSF Vice-Chair Doug Sayer. “The default Administration position is to close USSES next October so it’s unfortunate an agreement could not be reached.”
 

phutch30

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that station needs to close down. Its pretty telling when the agency that runs it wants to close it but is forced to stay open for political reasons.
 

katqanna

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Did you hear that WSF may be moving to Bozeman, Kat?

No I havent, but this last week was spent with EEG and the other tests and this new Wilks situation, so I wasnt networking as much. It would be a good thing to get more of a bighorn presence here. I went to the library for a meeting a month ago and they had been doing this construction on Wallace through the winter, across from the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. The architecture looked similar to that of the GYC and I wondered if they had bought the place to expand. When I saw them completed it was not the GYC it was two other similar groups that get called to the tables but dont really advocate, dont deal with the hard issues much, more fence sitting - like a triad going on over there. We could sure use some serious wildlife conservation groups here.

I have certain subjects on my news feeds that I keep an eye out for, bighorns being one of them. I find it very disheartening that the 2 times in the last six months, when so much news about bighorns deaths was generated that news agencies all over the US heavily repeated the stories, were two cases of singular bighorns getting hit by a frickin vehicle. The first from a bloody zoo in California, even to the point that they were saying it was a hit and run and this recent one where the deceased ram was a Boone and Crockett record.

Why do the ag pneumonia deaths not matter? North Dakota has cancelled their bighorn sheep hunting season for 2015 because of the recent deaths. While at the pseudo elk science presentation at MSU in January, I ran into Laura Lundquist and told her she should corner Howard Burt about the Bighorn deaths in Gardiner, that they were up to 30. So she did, got confirmation, wrote an article. But our wildlife agency would rather keep that information quiet. And now we are losing Laura as a reporter because she reported on Daines vote against the Land Water Conservation Fund, his office reached out to the Chronicle, she got punished and gave notice. It is highly doubtful that we are going to get a good reporter to replace her on wildlife and environment issues, which will effectively media silence what goes on down here, and it was pretty damn quiet as it was.

Our Bighorns deserve better, so I would gladly welcome the WSF if they came to Bozeman.
 

Nameless Range

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And now we are losing Laura as a reporter because she reported on Daines vote against the Land Water Conservation Fund, his office reached out to the Chronicle, she got punished and gave notice

Kat, are there any links out there about this? I have followed Daines for long enough to absolutely believe his people would do something like this. Daines' political strength has always been creating a perception that distances himself from the 'dirty work' while suckering Montanans into believing he is a moderate republican.
 

katqanna

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Bighorn, finally made time to talk with Tom and catch up on our project. He confirmed that WSF is moving to Bozeman, or at least that is the plan.

Nameless, there are no links I know of, just personal conversations and emails of parts. Laura has moved to Missoula and I think she is going to be working with Trout Unlimited. Unfortunately, you cant FOIA or Public Information Request accountability from congressmen. But we may not have lost Laura entirely on the conservation/environment news front, "with the help of some avid readers, I may have a new project in the works - a sportsmens/conservation website where I do the same thing as I did at the Chronicle but with no editor's limits." I hope she can set it up, it is getting harder and harder for real news on these issues, especially at the local level.
 

BigHornRam

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Maybe Laura was letting her personal bias interfere with her journalism? Sounds like she has a history of it. The Chronicle clipped her wings so she quit. Doesn't sound like a conspiracy to me.

"Daines' political strength has always been creating a perception that distances himself from the 'dirty work' while suckering Montanans into believing he is a moderate republican."

Nameless,

Swap out Baucus for Daines, and Democrat for Republican, in your sentence and you would be correct as well. If Daines gets too cute, he may end up in China as well. ;)
 

BuzzH

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BHR,

Just curious on how reporting the fact that Daines stuck it to the LWCF is a personal bias? In particular when the clown said he would support it.
 

Nameless Range

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Though not related to the OP.....

BHR, I would largely disagree with you, and I am aware that 'moderate' is a subjective term. Sure, Baucus had people do his 'dirty' work for him, but he was by all accounts a 'moderate' Democrat, though certainly in bed with industry. Let's not forget that Plum Creek Timber gave more money to Baucus than either Denny Rehberg or Conrad Burns.

Montana is a pretty conservative state, and the only Democrats who make it are those who trend to the 'middle". 'Liberal' Democrats, of the type existing on the east and west coasts, have a snowball's chance in Montana.

History will (and does) view Baucus as a moderate Democrat. Steve Daines ran as, and is currently viewed, as a moderate Republican. My prediction is that by the time Daines' term is over, his 'moderate' status will have been revoked. I feel this way because I have listened to what he has said and done while in the MT Legislature, before every word coming out of his mouth was lip service.
 
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katqanna

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Maybe Laura was letting her personal bias interfere with her journalism? Sounds like she has a history of it. The Chronicle clipped her wings so she quit. Doesn't sound like a conspiracy to me.

Bighorn, I have not always agreed with Laura, in fact I have publicly called her out a number of times for her articles on elk/bison brucellosis, especially with her equating the presence of antibodies being equaled with infection or infectious. When this was going on a few years ago, I looked into her background and previous journalism. She was in the air force and shows to be an intelligent person. So my question was, how in the hell could repeated conversations with her, especially from some vets, not get through the distinction and the articles keep cranking out misinformation biased towards ag with misinformation? There are a number of people I know that submitted letters to the editor that were also edited, removing accurate information and by deletion of information making the letters appear other than intended, but apologies from the paper dont get printed or printed as large as the original, so the public keeps getting lies drilled into their heads.

My guess now, those were edits form the editor, not what Laura originally reported.
 

BigHornRam

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Your right Nameless. Max is a moderate compared to this guy....... http://missoulian.com/news/opinion/...cle_9e102312-ab05-11e2-a358-001a4bcf887a.html (I think Kat likes this wingnut)

I'm not sure why you don't think liberals take money from industry though. The CEO of Citi Bank said he would be perfectly happy with Hillary or Jeb as President.

Back to the original topic. The "Tea Bagger" in me thinks that the US Sheep Experiement Station will go bye bye in the near future.
 

Oak

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(By comparison, I'm guessing IDF&G commission is saying sheep are good for wildlife).

Only slightly worse than the FWP Commission:

“Wild sheep would benefit if the grazing was shut down, but that really wasn’t the issue up there for us,” Vermillion said.
 

brymoore

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Only slightly worse than the FWP Commission:

Vermillion is with Montana's F&G commission.

I'm not sure why Idaho's F&G commission is mentioned in this thread. They're not mentioned in the article.

I can tell you IDF&G is pro wild sheep from my working with them for IDWSF.
 

Oak

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I guess you'll have to trust me that the differences are stark.

Don't feel bad. It's not at all uncommon for commissions or wildlife agencies to put the welfare of ranchers before the welfare of wildlife. Here in CO our very own CPW has signed an MOU with Colorado Wool Grower's Assn. that says CPW will not recommend closure of any active domestic sheep allotment based on the potential for interaction between domestic and bighorn sheep.
 

Upstart

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This area is open to horseback and foot hunting now and I believe it always has been. So, the "access for hunting" mime is a ruse. There is one short road to a sheep herders summer camp used only by ARS, USFS, FWP etc, but all the roads are closed to the public. These efforts are all about creating more wilderness and eventually a grizzly bear corridor across I-15 to the Selway.
 

TheTone

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The sheep station lands in Idaho are clearly marked with no trespassing signs. I was hunting a big antelope near some of the lands a few years back that seemed to clearly know he was safe once he crossed their fence.
 

RobG

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This area is open to horseback and foot hunting now and I believe it always has been. So, the "access for hunting" mime is a ruse. There is one short road to a sheep herders summer camp used only by ARS, USFS, FWP etc, but all the roads are closed to the public. These efforts are all about creating more wilderness and eventually a grizzly bear corridor across I-15 to the Selway.

So this is about opening up these roads to create more wilderness areas. I understand this better now.
 

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