Whiskey Basin Collaborative Project
WHISKEY MOUNTAIN BIGHORN SHEEP
UNDERSTANDING AND SOLUTIONS THROUGH COLLABORATION
WHAT’S GOING ON?
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) in partnership with the Wyoming Wild Sheep Foundation, the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center and the University of Wyoming’s Ruckelshaus Institute is engaging in a public involvement process to explore management concerns, issues, and opportunities for the Whiskey Mountain Bighorn Sheep herd. The Whiskey Mountain bighorn sheep herd was once one of the largest and most nationally recognized herds in the nation and it has been declining since an all age die-off in the early 1990’s. The herd continues to stay below the desired population size primarily because lamb survival is very low. At one time there were an estimated 2,500 sheep in this population; today there are about 750. WGFD needs your insight and ideas how to best manage this herd.
WHAT IS THIS?
This is an opportunity for ALL who are interested or concerned about these bighorn sheep. This process will provide an environment to share information and ideas to better understand the issues, challenges, and opportunities we face to, at minimum, arrest population decline in the Whiskey Mountain herd.
WHY DO THIS?
WGFD simply doesn’t have all the answers to turn this important bighorn sheep population around. There is much to be learned about how to best address this decline and perhaps implement new or different management strategies and projects to attempt to arrest and reverse this trend. To do this, we must consider a different approach that includes all who are interested and passionate about this herd.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
This approach will include a formal collaborative process and include people who care about and are knowledgeable about this herd. It will begin sometime later this summer and early fall with a “situation assessment” conducted by Jessica Western at the Ruckelshaus Institute that will include interviews with interested stakeholders which will help tailor the collaborative process. There will be three workshops, all held in Dubois, where we will WORK on specific subjects to share critical information, data, and ideas. We also held a Bighorn Sheep Summit in March to bring in “outside” experts from around the country to assist with charting a path forward.
WHEN DOES THIS HAPPEN?
The situation assessment was conducted and finished by the fall of 2018 (read this assessment below). The collaborative workshops began in February 2019 and conclude in early spring. The Summit was held March 14th. Upcoming are two more public meetings: April 3rd and June 5th. Please check our programs-events calendar for specific workshop dates.
WHAT ARE THE EXPECTED OUTCOMES?
Everyone involved will have a better understanding of the issues, challenges, and opportunities. Based on that understanding we will generate ideas and actionable items that can be addressed and/or implemented to hopefully improve conditions for this herd.
HOW DO I GET INVOLVED?
Everyone is “invited” and encouraged to participate in this process. WGFD and the National Bighorn Sheep Center will advertise the workshops and the summit online, on social media, local newspapers and radio stations. For more information on how to be involved or if you have questions, please contact Daryl Lutz at 307-335-2616.
Additionally, in late May 2019, NBSC has started to explore Citizen Science Data Collection as one way for the public to get involved and help with the observations of bighorn sheep in the Whiskey Basin area. The University of Wyoming has provided the basic data collection form in the bottom link below, and the public is encouraged to help provide observational data through this form to the University.
For a link to the full Situational Assessment, released on December 19, 2018, please click the first link below.
For a link to the full notes from the first February 2019 meeting, please click the second link below.
For links to the April 2019 workshop agenda, professionals input and issues summary from the February meeting see the third-fifth sets of links below.
For a link to the Citizen Science Observation Form, please see the sixth link below.
Read the DRAFT Whiskey Mountain Bighorn Sheep Plan in the final link below.
The draft plan as of May 28, 2019. Read it Here:
Special Events and Outreach
See the schedule of upcoming special events on the Events Page