April 4, 2010 in City

Bighorn deal broken, wool growers claim

Associated Press

LEWISTON – The Idaho Wool Growers Association and Shirts Brothers Sheep have filed a lawsuit against the Idaho Department of Fish and Game concerning bighorn sheep management.

The groups in the lawsuit filed earlier this week contend Fish and Game has not lived up to a 1997 agreement the groups say was designed to protect domestic sheep growers from potential adverse effects to their businesses from bighorn sheep introductions.

The groups are asking for unspecified damages.

The lawsuit comes several months after the Payette National Forest released a set of proposed updates to its plan to keep domestic sheep from intermingling with wild bighorns, citing disease transmission that kills bighorns.

One alternative in the draft calls for reducing domestic grazing by about 60 percent in Hells Canyon and allotments in the Salmon River Canyon.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game did not immediately return a call from the Associated Press on Saturday.

Idaho bighorn numbers have dwindled by half since 1990, to about 3,500.

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