Important opportunity to protect Mono Basin bighorn sheepFebruary 15th, 2017 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
If you’ve ever seen an endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep in the wild, you know how amazing they are. Now is your chance to support these animals with a letter or a call to the Mono County Board of Supervisors.
Next Tuesday, February 21*, Mono County Supervisors will consider whether or not to renew expiring domestic sheep grazing leases for Conway Ranch, a property that is located close to bighorn sheep territory in Lundy Canyon. Domestic sheep and goats can transmit bacteria to the bighorn that causes pneumonia and eventually death (up to 90% of animals in a bighorn herd can die). The only reliable way to prevent disease transmission is by geographically separating the species. Currently, state and federal wildlife agencies have determined that the domestic sheep are too close to the Lundy bighorn herd.
At their regular board meeting in Mammoth Lakes next Tuesday at 9:30am*, Mono County Supervisors will hear from bighorn sheep scientists as they present the latest scientific evidence to support their request for Mono County to cease domestic sheep grazing. Then the Supervisors will discuss options and presumably make a decision regarding the lease.
Please support the iconic Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep and speak on their behalf. Come to the meeting on February 21* and/or write a letter and make your voice heard.
*Update: The bighorn sheep agenda item has been postponed until the Tuesday, March 7 meeting in Bridgeport.
Because of the risk that domestic sheep pose to the native and endangered Sierra Nevada bighorn sheep herd that uses Lundy Canyon, the Mono Lake Committee is urging the County to not renew the grazing leases.
Mono County purchased Conway Ranch in 2000 using state and federal grants to fund the acquisition. It is currently managed under a conservation easement and protecting wildlife and open space are the primary goals. Other uses such as grazing or fish-rearing are allowed but not required.
Visit the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation for more information including a summary of the issue, details on the meeting location and time, and addresses where you can submit letters. If you have any questions please contact me by email or call (760) 647-6595, extension 142.