Sweetwater Rocks Initiative

On October 17, 2023 WYWSF released it's Sweetwater Rocks Initiative

Governor Gordon signs SF0118 into law

Wyoming Governor Gordon signed SF0118 into law on Friday, March 22 following the legislative budget session. The bill was titled the “Bighorn and domestic sheep relocation – federal action” bill.

Sponsored by Senator Hicks and Representative Western, the law provides assurances to grazing permit holders on Bureau of Land Management lands within the Sweetwater Rocks Cooperative Review Area that should federal actions occur to reduce their allotted use and available forage of their permit as a result of the presence of bighorn sheep, that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will remove the bighorn sheep from the Area.

The law addresses the concerns of agriculture producers within the boundaries of the Sweetwater Rocks Cooperative Review Area seeking assurances that their BLM grazing permits will not be negatively affected by a reintroduction of bighorn sheep.

The law codifies actions already occurring by WGFD personnel to provide the expedient removal of bighorn sheep that stray outside the Sweetwater Rocks Cooperative Review Area. The law contains appropriations of $100,000 for the wildlife/livestock disease research partnership and $50,000 for the Wyoming Department of Agriculture rangeland health assessment program.

The law has a delayed start of January 1, 2026 to allow for any federal law development to compliment these state-level assurances and allow for source herd monitoring and rangeland and habitat improvements within the Sweetwater Rocks.

Under the Wyoming Plan, a Cooperative Review Area is an “area of suitable bighorn sheep range where proposed changes in bighorn sheep management or domestic sheep use will be cooperatively evaluated,” and where “cooperative will be sought in these areas to implement practices benefiting one or both species.”

The Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation will work cooperatively with the Bureau of Land Management, WGFD and WDA, and other conservation organizations to provide on-the-ground habitat enhancements including water development, weed and vegetation treatments, and fence replacement to new wildlife friendly fencing.

The reintroduction proposal remains active within the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, who will have the ultimate say on the timing of the approval for a reintroduction.

To watch the video and for more information, visit https://www.wyomingwildsheep.org/sri

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