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USFS, Wyoming agree on bighorn sheep management plan

Memorandum provides certainty for sheep producers grazing public lands while protecting bighorn sheep populations.

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) has entered into an agreement with Wyoming for management of bighorn sheep on National Forest System Lands, according to the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

USFS signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the state last week. Wyoming’s plan for management was formalized and has been utilized since 2004.

"This is good news for our sheep producers and good news for wildlife managers. It provides certainty that grazing on public lands will continue as it has for decades — that the Forest Service and Wyoming will work together to manage in a way that works best for forest health, for industry and for wildlife," Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead said.

The goal of the MOU is to maintain healthy bighorn sheep populations while sustaining an economically viable sheep industry in the state.

"Wyoming's bighorn sheep are doing well. The Game & Fish Department is committed to an effective plan for bighorn and domestic sheep. This MOU accomplishes that," said Scott Talbott, director of the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

Sheep producers in Wyoming generate more than $60 million annually in total economic benefit and provide more than 800 jobs in the state.

Jacque Buchanan, deputy regional forester for USFS's Rocky Mountain Region, said the MOU "formalizes our commitment to collaboratively manage bighorn sheep and their habitats on National Forest System Lands within the state of Wyoming."

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