Grazing

Owyhee County is Idaho’s second largest county and yet one of its least populated. Despite its emptiness, Owyhee County has a rich history, one that has been thoroughly explored and documented by today’s guest, John Bieter.

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A conservation group has filed a lawsuit contending the U.S. Forest Service is violating environmental laws by issuing grazing permits to central Idaho livestock growers with a long history of violating permit restrictions.

Western Watersheds Project in the lawsuit filed Wednesday says the Forest Service is issuing the permits knowing cattle grazers aren't following guidelines in the area that also includes the newly-formed White Clouds Wilderness.

Travis S. / Flickr

Federal officials have released a plan to close about 30 square miles of grazing allotments to domestic sheep and goats in west-central Idaho to protect bighorn sheep from diseases.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's release of the final supplemental environmental impact statement closing three allotments starts a protest period that runs through June 19.

Two of the allotments are east of Riggins near the Salmon River and one is to the south along the Little Salmon River.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Even though the Obama administration decided not to list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act in September, University of Idaho professor Karen Launchbaugh knows the issue is not going away.

James Good / Flickr Creative Commons

The University of Idaho says it won't graze sheep this summer on three high-elevation areas in eastern Idaho and western Montana until a lawsuit filed by environmental groups concerning a federal sheep research facility is resolved.

Federal officials in documents filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court say the university in March notified the U.S. Department of Agriculture it wouldn't send sheep or sheepherders to the allotments this summer.

Travis S. / Flickr

A federal judge has ruled that a U.S. Forest Service plan to reduce domestic sheep grazing on the Payette National Forest by about 70 percent to protect bighorn sheep from diseases will remain in place.

Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge A. Wallace Tashima, sitting by designation for the District of Idaho, made the ruling on Tuesday.

Sheep ranchers in Idaho and other states in 2012 sued the Forest Service over the bighorn sheep protection plan announced in 2010.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Three conservation groups want to stop domestic sheep from grazing on certain areas within the Payette National Forest.  They fear Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep will catch diseases transmitted by their domestic cousins.  These groups filed a motion in federal court this week to force the U.S Forest Service to further restrict sheep grazing.