BLM - Bureau of Land Management

06/28/2019 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/28/2019 11:43

BLM Seeks Public Comment on Domestic Sheep Grazing Permit Renewals

Gunnison, Colo. - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Gunnison Field Office is seeking public comment on its Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Domestic Sheep Grazing Permit Renewals.

The BLM analyzed the effects of domestic sheep and goat grazing on public lands in nine domestic sheep grazing allotments, totaling 65,710 acres in Gunnison, Hinsdale and Ouray counties in southwest Colorado.

Contact between domestic sheep and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep can pose a health risk to the bighorn sheep population with diseases that may cause pneumonia, reduced lamb survival, or high mortality in a herd. The draft EIS analyzes the potential for disease transmission from domestic sheep to Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep related to five alternative management strategies.

The BLM intends to present alternative management strategies that minimize risk of contact and subsequent transmission of respiratory disease between domestic sheep and wild sheep, and still provide grazing on public lands. The draft EIS also analyzes threatened and endangered plant and animal species, local and regional socioeconomics, cultural resources, Native American religious concerns, and public land health.

'We look forward to hearing from our partners and the public on the alternatives proposed in this document,' said Gunnison Field Manager Elijah Waters. 'We hope to strike a balance between domestic sheep grazing and reducing the risk to Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep populations in the area.'

The draft EIS is available online for a 45-day public review and comment period at BLM's ePlanning site at Comments must be submitted through the BLM ePlanning website by August 11. Public comments will help the BLM and its partner agencies develop the final EIS.

BLM staff will host public open house events during the formal comment period, where the public is invited to discuss the alternatives with BLM staff specialists. Meetings will be held on the following dates:

  • July 17, in Montrose from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., at the Uncompahgre Field Office, 2465 S. Townsend Ave
  • July 18, in Lake City from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Coursey Annex (BOCC meeting room), 311 N. Henson St.

Before including any personal identifying information in your comment, please be aware that your entire comment including personal identifying information may be made publicly available at any time. While you can request in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.