Medicine Bow Bighorn Sheep
Apr 6, 2012
Biodiversity Conservation Alliance v. Butch Blazer, Ann Mills, USDA, and U.S. Forest Service
Advocates for the West filed suit against the U.S. Forest Service in Wyoming over the agency’s revised Forest Plan for the Medicine Bow National Forest. In the Medicine Bow Revised Forest Plan, the Forest Service provided measures to protect two bighorn sheep herds on the Forest, but admitted that a third herd on the Forest would likely be extirpated because of domestic sheep grazing. Domestic sheep can transmit disease to bighorn sheep if the two species come in contact, usually leading to death in the bighorns from respiratory disease and often large die-offs of bighorn populations.
The Encampment bighorn sheep herd on the Medicine Bow National Forest numbers only 30-50 animals. The Forest Service took no action in the Medicine Bow Revised Forest Plan to protect these animals from domestic sheep grazing on the Forest, in violation of its responsibility to ensure that viable populations of bighorn sheep persist and are well-distributed across the Forest.
Advocates for the West senior staff attorney Laurie Rule is representing Biodiversity Conservation Alliance in this case to try to promote further protections for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep in the West, in conjunction with our bighorn sheep cases in Idaho. See Western Watersheds Project v. U.S. Forest Service, case no. 07-151, Western Watersheds Project v. BLM, case no. 09-507.