Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office

Bighorn Sheep on mountain top 

Status of the Science

Do You Want to Know More About Bighorn Sheep?

People frequently ask, "What is the science related to the alternative proposals and actions being suggested to support bighorn sheep recovery?"  This site includes some short summaries of literature related to human interactions with bighorn sheep.   palm_oasisOn Questions that Relate to BLM Plan Amendment Decisions and Peninsular Ranges Bighorn Sheep. We have tried to provide an easy to read, objective representation of what appears in the most important science papers related to the questions people have asked.

 sheep habitatWhile it is difficult to establish direct cause - effect relationships in complex biological systems, several concepts are reasonably well established.  Dogs and helicopters can cause more severe reactions than other types of activities.  Walking directly at sheep can cause stress or flight.  Approaching sheep from above is more likely to cause a reaction than from below.  Ewes are more sensitive and likely to react when they are nursing a lamb.

The contributions of recreational trail users in support of sheep recovery have gotten the most attention.  Recreation use is clearly not the only potential factor affecting sheep.  A number of different actions are likely to be needed to assemble the long-term solution.   For our part, BLM will work with other agencies and researchers to show restraint in helicopter use and handling of sheep on public lands.  We will seek to better understand vegetation changes that have occurred in sheep habitat.  We will continue restoring watering sources for sheep. 

Federal, State, and local agencies and local interest groups are working together in partnership on various recovery actions for the benefit of the Bighorn Sheep. The various entities are participating in the  Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan to create federal and local land use plan decisions that work well together and have the strength of community support.   Bighorn sheep recovery is one of the expected outcomes.

Please send all comments to Greg Hill at or you can contact him at (760) 251-4840.