Wild sheep and disease

Big Fin

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Thanks for your work, Oak. You and your fellow RMBS volunteers are tireless in your advocacy for wild sheep. Let us know how we can help.
 

Oak

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If you want to get involved in something right now, you can submit comments on the draft GMUG Forest Plan Revision. Comments are due by November 12. Just click the "Submit a Comment" button.

The most important thing for bighorn sheep in this draft plan is that they be included on the Species of Conservation Concern list, which is designated by the Regional Forester. They are currently not on the list, despite ample evidence that they qualify and a pointed letter from CPW indicating point by point why they qualify and should be included on the list.

SCC listing is important because without it, the Forest only has to manage for persistence on the forest. The management hurdle for SCC species is viability. If bighorns are not an SCC species, the forest could write off all but one herd of bighorns on the forest and still meet persistence. As an SCC species, the Forest must consider all individuals on the forest as a single population.

The 2012 planning rule lists the following categories for species that should be considered for SCC listing:

3. Species in the following categories should be considered:

a. Species with status ranks of G/T3 or S1 or S2 on the NatureServe ranking system. See exhibit 01 for description of NatureServe Conservation Status Ranks.

b. Species listed as threatened or endangered by relevant States, federally recognized Tribes, or Alaska Native Corporations.

c. Species identified by Federal, State, federally recognized Tribes, or Alaska Native Corporations as a high priority for conservation.

d. Species identified as species of conservation concern in adjoining National Forest System plan areas (including plan areas across regional boundaries).


e. Species that have been petitioned for Federal listing and for which a positive “90-day finding” has been made.

f. Species for which the best available scientific information indicates there is local conservation concern about the species' capability to persist over the long-term in the plan area due to:

(1) Significant threats, caused by stressors on and off the plan area, to populations or the ecological conditions they depend upon (habitat). These threats include climate change.

(2) Declining trends in populations or habitat in the plan area.


(3) Restricted ranges (with corresponding narrow endemics, disjunct populations, or species at the edge of their range).

(4) Low population numbers or restricted ecological conditions (habitat) within the plan area.
Bighorn sheep meet category c. (CPW lists them as a species of greatest conservation need in their SWAP), category d. (the adjacent Rio Grande National Forest listed bighorns as SCC in their forest plan revision that was just completed last year), and three of the four sub-categories of category f. The CPW comment letter makes a case for bighorns meeting all four sub-categories of category f.

The Forest is contending that because bighorns don't meet sub-category (3) of category f. that they can't be listed as SCC. However, the list above is clearly an "or" list, not an "and" list.

So write your comments and ask that bighorn sheep be listed as a species of conservation concern because the best available science indicates there is concern about their ability to persist over the long term due to the risk of disease transmission from authorized domestic sheep grazing on the forest. From the Rangeland Assessment prepared for this plan revision, in 2016 there were 27,331 domestic sheep permitted to graze on the forest.
 

Oak

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There is a stray domestic sheep in the center of this photo, photographed on Oct. 30 and reported to me a couple of hours ago. It is on a Gunnison BLM allotment. The last day sheep were supposed to be out there was Sept. 20, so it has been out there 40+ days.
 

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neffa3

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If you want to get involved in something right now, you can submit comments on the draft GMUG Forest Plan Revision. Comments are due by November 12. Just click the "Submit a Comment" button.

The most important thing for bighorn sheep in this draft plan is that they be included on the Species of Conservation Concern list, which is designated by the Regional Forester. They are currently not on the list, despite ample evidence that they qualify and a pointed letter from CPW indicating point by point why they qualify and should be included on the list.

SCC listing is important because without it, the Forest only has to manage for persistence on the forest. The management hurdle for SCC species is viability. If bighorns are not an SCC species, the forest could write off all but one herd of bighorns on the forest and still meet persistence. As an SCC species, the Forest must consider all individuals on the forest as a single population.

The 2012 planning rule lists the following categories for species that should be considered for SCC listing:


Bighorn sheep meet category c. (CPW lists them as a species of greatest conservation need in their SWAP), category d. (the adjacent Rio Grande National Forest listed bighorns as SCC in their forest plan revision that was just completed last year), and three of the four sub-categories of category f. The CPW comment letter makes a case for bighorns meeting all four sub-categories of category f.

The Forest is contending that because bighorns don't meet sub-category (3) of category f. that they can't be listed as SCC. However, the list above is clearly an "or" list, not an "and" list.

So write your comments and ask that bighorn sheep be listed as a species of conservation concern because the best available science indicates there is concern about their ability to persist over the long term due to the risk of disease transmission from authorized domestic sheep grazing on the forest. From the Rangeland Assessment prepared for this plan revision, in 2016 there were 27,331 domestic sheep permitted to graze on the forest.
Done. Thanks for the link and info. You make it too easy @Oak
 
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rtraverdavis

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Where does domestic wool mostly end up? In any particular brands? It’s just unreal that this one little industry could pose such an existential threat to an entire species.
 

Oak

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Where does domestic wool mostly end up? In any particular brands? It’s just unreal that this one little industry could pose such an existential threat to an entire species.
The largest consumer of domestic wool is the U.S. Military. Companies that source domestic wool for clothing are listed in the Executive Summary of this ASI report and include Duckworth, Ramblers Way, Voormi, Crescent, Kentwool, Wigwam and Nester Hosiery.

Obviously the lamb market is even more important to domestic sheep producers than the wool market. Primary markets for lamb are found in the Northeast, Southeast, West Coast, and larger cities. Restaurants make up a big market share. You can find lots of information on the ASI website.
 

Oak

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If you want to get involved in something right now, you can submit comments on the draft GMUG Forest Plan Revision. Comments are due by November 12. Just click the "Submit a Comment" button.

The most important thing for bighorn sheep in this draft plan is that they be included on the Species of Conservation Concern list, which is designated by the Regional Forester. They are currently not on the list, despite ample evidence that they qualify and a pointed letter from CPW indicating point by point why they qualify and should be included on the list.

SCC listing is important because without it, the Forest only has to manage for persistence on the forest. The management hurdle for SCC species is viability. If bighorns are not an SCC species, the forest could write off all but one herd of bighorns on the forest and still meet persistence. As an SCC species, the Forest must consider all individuals on the forest as a single population.

The 2012 planning rule lists the following categories for species that should be considered for SCC listing:


Bighorn sheep meet category c. (CPW lists them as a species of greatest conservation need in their SWAP), category d. (the adjacent Rio Grande National Forest listed bighorns as SCC in their forest plan revision that was just completed last year), and three of the four sub-categories of category f. The CPW comment letter makes a case for bighorns meeting all four sub-categories of category f.

The Forest is contending that because bighorns don't meet sub-category (3) of category f. that they can't be listed as SCC. However, the list above is clearly an "or" list, not an "and" list.

So write your comments and ask that bighorn sheep be listed as a species of conservation concern because the best available science indicates there is concern about their ability to persist over the long term due to the risk of disease transmission from authorized domestic sheep grazing on the forest. From the Rangeland Assessment prepared for this plan revision, in 2016 there were 27,331 domestic sheep permitted to graze on the forest.
This comment deadline was extended to 11/26.
 

Oak

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Meanwhile in Wyoming.... The USFS, under heavy pressure form the livestock industry and the state department of ag, is looking to undo decades of work and millions of dollars in financial contributions from groups including the WSF an TU to benefit a handful of sleazy woolgrowers who are bent on gaming the system in their favor... again.

Paused and will be rolled into the forest plan revision process whenever that begins.
 

Oak

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So write your comments and ask that bighorn sheep be listed as a species of conservation concern because the best available science indicates there is concern about their ability to persist over the long term due to the risk of disease transmission from authorized domestic sheep grazing on the forest.
@Oak
I'm trying to craft an intelligent and succinct comment, any points i should try to make?
You could literally say what I said in my quote above and finish the sentence with, “as demonstrated in the November 22, 2021 comment letter on the draft plan from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.”

Here is that letter.
 

dgc1963

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Thanks for all you do Oak on this issue and keeping us updated
It is so hard for me to understand how we went from millions of wild sheep to building back the herds that we have now with all the huge effort and cost. It has taken a monumental effort to get where we are now !
To have some chuckle heads at state agency let domestic sheep overlap areas when anyone that can read knows what the outcome will be. Its not if the wild sheep will get sick but when. And how many times have we had entire herds have died off due to same issue the math on loss of Ewes not having lambs and ewe lams not growing and breeding is math is that would make me sick
The few time Ive seen sheep in the wild have been some of the best moments of my western trips
 
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