Closure of Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Habitat to Pack Goat Use
Proposed by the Forest Service – Comments Sought
(Forest Service Press Release)
BISHOP, Calif., Sept. 13, 2012 – The Inyo National Forest is initiating the preparation of an Environmental Assessment (EA) for a proposal to close Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep (SNBS) habitat to domestic goat use. The Forest Service is proposing to close or limit domestic goat access on trails within SNBS habitat on the Inyo National Forest. The proposed action would affect 103 trails covering 417 miles.
The Forest Service is proposing to close 100 trails or trail sections, covering approximately 330 miles, to domestic goat use. Three trails or trail sections, covering approximately 90 miles, would remain open to domestic goat use but goats would be limited to within 200 feet of the trail at all times, and would be required to be tethered or otherwise restrained to prevent wandering further off trail and into suitable SNBS habitat. For a detailed list of the proposed trails and maps of the area please go to the following website:http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/
The purpose of this project is to support the Recovery Plan for SNBS, an endangered species, by addressing concerns regarding disease transmission between domestic goats and SNBS. Domestic goats can carry diseases that are communicable and deadly to native SNBS. Diseases introduced by domestic goats present a major threat to SNBS populations. Restricting proximity of domestic goats to SNBS populations is expected to reduce exposure of SNBS to disease.
A previous forest order closed areas to domestic goat use in only three populations of SNBS and these orders have now expired. Critical habitat was designated in 2008, after the past forest orders expired. SNBS populations have increased and populations have expanded into new areas since the previous forest orders. The Inyo National Forest needs to continue protection of SNBS from the risk of disease transmission and expand this protection based on new information about SNBS.
How to Comment and Timeframe
This scoping period is intended to provide those interested in or affected by this proposal an opportunity to raise concerns or provide input on the potential effects of the proposed project. To obtain a copy of the proposed action and project maps, please visit the following website: http://www.fs.fed.us/nepa/
Public comments can be mailed to project leader Leeann Murphy at: Inyo National Forest, Supervisors Office, 351 Pacu Lane, Suite 200, Bishop, CA 93514. Comments may also be submitted by fax :760-873-2458; or by hand-delivery to the Supervisors Office, during normal business hours (Monday – Friday 8:00am to 4:30pm). Electronic comments may be submitted via email to the following address, with “Goat Closure” in the subject line: comments-pacificsouthwest-