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.
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.