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Important opportunity to protect Mono Basin bighorn sheep | The Mono-logue

Important opportunity to protect Mono Basin bighorn sheep

February 15th, 2017 by Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director
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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.

Photo courtesy of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation.

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.

Photo courtesy of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation.

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.

Photo courtesy of the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation.

8 Responses to “Important opportunity to protect Mono Basin bighorn sheep”

  1. avatar Larry & Carol Holt Says:

    For those of us not properly tuned in, could you possibly direct us to the contact info for the Mono County Supervisors? Thanks.

  2. avatar Lisa, Eastern Sierra Policy Director Says:

    If you click on the Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation link near the bottom it will take you to all the information you need to submit a letter. Thanks

  3. avatar geo mellon Says:

    Kinda of a no brainer as they say. What would you rather support-hooved locusts or wild, native amazing animals? And think of the tourists…which would they rather view? If these supervisors support grazing it would be criminal!

  4. avatar Richard Nielsen Says:

    Once we doom the Mono Basin Big Horn Sheep by allowing bacterial contamination of the herds there is no way to rectify the mistake. Please provide adequate separation from domestic sheep to prevent the loss of these native sheep.

  5. avatar Bob Avakian Says:

    And with all the precipitation, there should be sufficient grazing on other lands available to the sheep ranchers making the Mono county grazing redundant. A good year to prohibit grazing.

  6. avatar MaryAnn Petro Says:

    Both types of sheep need summer pasturage, but the wild sheep need to retain their natural habitat for the health of their herd.

  7. avatar sue carter Says:

    Copy of letter sent to all Mono County Supervisors:
    February 23, 2017

    Susan Carter
    16427 Palomino Drive
    Springville, CA 93265

    Mono County Board of Supervisors
    P.O. Box 715
    Bridgeport, CA 93517

    Dear Board of Supervisors:

    As a species found only in the Sierra Nevada, our very own Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep (SNBS) deserve to be protected and preserved. I urge you to stop domestic sheep grazing at the Conway Ranch to prevent potential diseases from being transmitted from those domestic sheep to the SNBS. Your action in halting this domesticated sheep grazing would be in line with other grazing allotments closed by federal agencies, and would prevent the costly litigation that is likely to follow if said grazing is allowed to continue.

    The wild and native SNBS are of inestimable value as a keystone species, let alone a considerable draw to tourists and others who come to the area to see the SNBS and in the process support the local economy.

    I have felt honored to have witnessed the SNBS clambering around a hillside by Parker Pass in Yosemite, and again while hiking up Lundy Canyon. These sightings have enriched my life, and have encouraged others to spend time on the east side of the Sierra, in the hopes of seeing these animals.

    I respectfully urge you to close the grazing allotment on Conway Ranch. This will help insure that I, and future generations, are able to experience the diversity of wildlife in the Sierra Nevada.


    Susan Carter

  8. avatar Norma A Fritsche Says:

    I agree with Richard Nielsen and Bob Avakian. Assuring the safety of the big horn sheep should not be a problem, especially considering the wealth of rain we have had this year. A good year to secure grazing grounds for both domestic and big horns that ensure the health and safety of both.

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