Published since 1946
BLM Updates Guidance for Bighorn Sheep Habitat Management
On March 11, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released an updated policy guidance for managing bighorn sheep populations to minimize conflicts with domestic sheep and goats. Policy Manual 1730 sets policy to manage BLM lands for the effective separation of domestic sheep or goats with wild sheep and to minimize the risk of contact between the species. Currently, physical separation of the species is the only way to reduce the potential transmission of pneumonia-type diseases.
According to the policy: "Management practices will be considered during NEPA analyses for inclusion as terms and conditions in domestic sheep and goat grazing permits and leases, where applicable, along with additional site-specific or new practices that help to achieve effective separation and minimize the risk of contact, based on the best available science and information. To reduce the potential for disease transmission, the BLM will consider (1) habitat distribution; (2) connectivity; (3) wild sheep occurrence; (4) wild sheep population numbers; (5) proximity of wild sheep populations to areas authorized for domestic sheep and goat grazing or trailing; (6) risk of inter-species contact; (7) domestic sheep and goat allotment boundaries and season of use; (8) domestic livestock operational needs; and (9) other pertinent parameters affecting the BLM's ability to provide for effective separation when authorizing domestic sheep and goat uses on BLM lands. The selection of management actions will consider the context of surrounding lands, especially those involving domestic sheep or goats, as well as surrounding wild sheep populations across one or more planning areas."