Watersheds Messenger     Summer 2007     Vol. XIV, No. 1      PDF ISSUE

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WWP Fights To Protect Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep In Hells Canyon


Western Watersheds Project has won another public lands victory protecting native wildlife by preventing grazing by domestic sheep in Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep habitat next to the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area in western Idaho.

WWP and our litigation partner the Hells Canyon Preservation Council brought litigation in April 2007 to block turn-out of domestic sheep on allotments that the Payette National Forest had determined to be at high and very high risk of transmitting fatal disease to Bighorns from domestic sheep. The Payette National Forest had declined to act to protect Bighorns, but immediately after the litigation was filed the Forest reacted by banning domestic sheep grazing in most of the very high risk Smith Mountain allotment and all of the Curren Hill allotment in the western part of the Payette National Forest.

In subsequent appeals and federal court hearings WWP and our partner have prevailed, and so this year for the first time in almost 120 years there will be no domestic sheep grazing immediately adjacent to Hells Canyon. WWPs excellent legal counsel in this case is Laurie Rule of Advocates For The West.