Centennial Mountains of Idaho and Montana
The National Wildlife Federation's Wildlife Conflict Resolution Program (Adopt-A-Wildlife Acre) has continued to make excellent progress in reducing livestock / wildlife conflicts in the northern Rockies. In August, the National Wildlife Federation finalized a grazing agreement on the Limestone Irving / Middle Creek domestic sheep grazing allotments in the Centennial Mountains, straddling the high divide of the Montana / Idaho border, west of Yellowstone National Park totaling 82,000 acres.
Since the Adopt-A-Wildlife Acre program was founded in 2002, the National Wildlife Federation has resolved conflicts on over 1 million acres for wildlife in the west!
This Limestone Irving / Middle Creek retirement, with seven allotments in total, is one of the largest and most important retirements NWF has negotiated on the High Divide, a critical East to West wildlife corridor between Idaho’s Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and Yellowstone National Park. Domestic sheep allotments in the area have faced chronic conflicts with both large carnivores and bighorn sheep.
The domestic sheep allotments retired are adjacent to occupied bighorn sheep habitat in Montana’s Tendoy Mountains. We focused our efforts in this region because the bighorn herd in the Tendoys has dwindled in recent years due to disease transmission that likely occurred from co-mingling between the two species. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will be culling the existing herd in the Tendoys this fall and plans to reintroduce clean bighorn sheep to the region in the coming year. Due to this critical retirement, bighorn sheep will have a fighting chance for a comeback in the Tendoy Mountains and their range and populations will be allowed to expand south to the Lima Peaks area and over the Idaho border.
Tendoy Mountains - Occupied Bighorn Sheep Habitat
A bighorn ram courting a ewe in southwest Montana