Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks announced its decision Friday to delay the reintroduction of Bighorn sheep into the Bridger Mountains after reviewing both the environmental assessment (EA) and public comment related to the proposal. In a letter explaining the decision, Region 3 Supervisor Pat Flowers wrote, "Now is not the right time for a reintroduction," but committed to "additional work towards that end."
This decision means the Department will not go ahead with the immediate reintroduction of Bighorn sheep given concerns about long term success. Instead, FWP will work to achieve agreements with sheep owners in the Bridgers - in collaboration with neighboring landowners and Bighorn sheep advocates - to help reduce the risk of contact between domestic and Bighorn sheep. The aim will be to create a better opportunity for success with a future reintroduction. FWP expects to evaluate this effort in December of 2013 to assess whether sufficient progress has been made toward that end.
The entire decision notice including public comment on the proposal can be found online at http://fwp.mt.gov/news/publicNotices/.