Resource Management Council Eyes Progress on Key IssuesCHASE ADAMS
ASI Senior Policy and Information Director
For the Predator Management and Public Lands committees – collectively the Resource Management Council – San Antonio was all about progress. Progress on the M-44 sodium cyanide device ensuring its continued use in the field to protect the lamb crop, progress in bighorn sheep research and pathogen transmission, and progress on the broad portfolio of public lands issues.
Interactions between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep remained a large focus of the council. Dr. Maggie Highland with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal Research Service shared tremendous news that after years of taking wildlife nasal swabs, her lab has found mycoplasma ovipneumoniae (movi) in deer and buffalo, with possible additional species to be announced soon. This research alone holds the potential to significantly change the existing policies in Washington, D.C., that give wild sheep preference over domestic sheep and have led to the wrongful loss of many domestic sheep allotments and producers’ livelihoods.
Predator control was also top of mind for sheep producers, as USDA Under Secretary of Marketing and Regulatory Programs Greg Ibach announced the new deputy administrator for USDA Wildlife Services at the executive board meeting on Wednesday. Janet Bucknall began with USDA/Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service/Animal Damage Control in 1987 and comes into this position after serving as the Eastern Regional Director for Wildlife Services. Regarding the use of the M-44 sodium cyanide device, Wildlife Services announced a revised label that resolves the antidote requirement and the establishment of a variance process to use the M-44 between 0.5 and 0.25 of a mile from any occupied residence, in certain instances.
In coordination with the Public Lands Council, PLC president Dave Eliason discussed the group’s continued efforts to amend the restrictive sage grouse plans through the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service. In addition, PLC was able to realize tremendous success in the review of and reduction of several monument designations by the prior administration.
ASI is a founding member of PLC and the relationship has been a tremendous value to sheep producers across the west as PLC celebrates its 50th year.