Commission gets it right

Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission gets it right

The U.S. Sheep Experiment Station has grazed domestic sheep in the wild Centennial Mountains along the Idaho/Montana border since 1915. The Centennials provide a critical east to west corridor for wildlife that migrate from Yellowstone National Park. In recent years, this government-sponsored station has been a flash-point for conflict between sheep owned by the State of Idaho and numerous wildlife species, particularly grizzly bears, black bears, and wolves.

The Greater Yellowstone Coalition has long advocated ending sheep grazing in the high elevation pastures in the Centennial Mountains. And in 2014, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture finally announced plans to relocate the station to a more appropriate location for sheep grazing and research. However, Idaho’s congressional delegation intervened and kept funding in place to maintain the station.

In a recent letter to Montana Senator Steve Daines, the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission asked the Senator to help resolve the conflict between wildlife, recreationists, and one of the last sheep grazing operations in occupied grizzly bear habitat. The Commission specifically asks that Idaho’s sheep be removed from the 16,000 acre high-elevation pastures in the Centennial Mountains.

The Commission has gotten it right on this one. “The Sheep Station’s grazing activities, with its government-owned domestic sheep, in the Centennial Mountains creates significant management challenges for the conservation commitments Montanans have made and continue to make.”

Please join us in sending a quick email thanking the Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission for standing up for wildlife in Greater Yellowstone!

Montana Fish & Wildlife Commission email address: fwpcomm@mt.gov