A coalition of sportsmen-conservationists today applauded the elimination of a controversial amendment from a U.S. House of Representatives appropriations bill that would have prohibited implementation of a science-based management plan for bighorn sheep populations in a national forest in Idaho.

The Association of Fish & Wildlife AgenciesTheodore Roosevelt Conservation PartnershipWestern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies and Wild Sheep Foundation roundly praised Rep. Mike Simpson’s decision to withdraw his rider to the House appropriations bill for interior, environment and related agencies. The amendment would have prevented advancement of a management plan in the Payette National Forest that separates bighorn sheep from domestic sheep grazing on public lands. Simpson, of Idaho, is chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies.

AFWA, the TRCP and WSF issued the following statement in response to Rep. Simpson’s decision:

“We thank Chairman Simpson for removing the wild sheep rider from the House interior appropriations bill. Conflicts between wild sheep and domestic sheep need to be managed by wildlife professionals and range managers using best available science and not by Congress. We look forward to working with Chairman Simpson, the state fish and wildlife agencies, the Forest Service, the grazing industry and conservationists to conserve wild sheep in Idaho and other Western states.”

Clay Brewer, chair of WAFWA’s Wild Sheep Working Group, offered further affirmation:

“We greatly appreciate Representative Simpson’s efforts to foster development of solutions at the local level by recognizing the critical role of science and collaboration for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

The measure was one of several policy riders proposed by the House of Representatives in its fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill. The House is continuing to deliberate other components of the bill, which could pass as soon as tomorrow.

Image courtesy Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

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