October 17, 2008
October 17, 2008 - Is removing domestic sheep from the Payette National
Forest (PNF) the answer to protecting bighorn sheep? The Forest Service (FS)
says yes, but Ron Shirts of Shirts Brothers Sheep and Frank Shirts, Jr. - who
are third generation domestic sheep operators that are permitted to graze on
several domestic sheep allotments in the Payette National Forest - disagree.
As previously reported, the FS released a Draft Supplemental
Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on Sept. 18, 2008. The FS proposes in its
DEIS to eliminate domestic sheep grazing on all but four domestic sheep
allotments within the PNF in an effort to protect the bighorns due to a claimed
disease transmission problem between the bighorns and the domestic sheep.
Comments have been submitted to the FS by the Shirts' and can be read in
their entirety at www.sheepusa.org/?page=site/text&nav_id=06a255e39cc23a7bd55e703587d2d01d
Comments on this draft report should be submitted before Jan. 2, 2009.
Ask the FS to redo its DEIS and to maintain the existing domestic sheep
allotments on the PNF. In so asking, you will not be advocating for or against
bighorns or for or against domestic sheep. Instead, you will be advocating for
an objective analysis of bighorn and domestic sheep interaction and for
ratification of the commitments made in 1997.