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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 309

 BLM Recognizes Bighorn Institute

This past Saturday, December 1, BLM California State Director Mike Pool recognized the Bighorn Institute and its Director, Jim DeForge, for 25 years of outstanding service to the research and recovery of the Peninsular bighorn sheep.  A Board of Director’s meeting for the Bighorn Institute, located at the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains in Palm Desert, California, provided the setting for this very special occasion.

Bighorn Institute director Jim DeForge (right) holds the award presented to him by BLM California State Director Mike Pool
Bighorn Institute director Jim DeForge (right) holds the award presented to him by BLM California State Director Mike Pool (left)

Under the dedicated leadership of Jim DeForge, the Bighorn Institute is in the forefront of research, habitat acquisition, population augmentation and public support for the recovery of the Peninsular bighorn sheep.  The Institute conducts a captive breeding and wild population augmentation program at their facility as a means to reverse the decline of Peninsular bighorn populations. Through field and laboratory studies, the Institute also generates extensive scientific knowledge to assist in and promote the recovery of Peninsular bighorn.

In March, 1998, the Peninsular Ranges population of desert bighorn sheep was federally listed as an endangered species, pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973.  Peninsular bighorn sheep inhabit dry, rocky, low-elevation desert slopes, canyons, and washes from the San Jacinto and Santa Rosa Mountains near Palm Springs, California south into Baja California, Mexico.

Work of the Institute is conducted with the cooperation of the California Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. 

The Bighorn Institute is located on nearly 300 acres of land purchased from the BLM as part of a long-term cooperative relationship.  The Bighorn Institute has been invaluable to the BLM in educating the public on Peninsular bighorn sheep issues and providing extensive research to base effective land use management decisions designed to promote population recovery.  The Bighorn Institute guides acquisition of key habitat areas and has been proactive in securing conservation easements on their own initiative.

Below, members of the Bighorn Institute Board of Directors pose with BLM : (left to right):  Jim DeForge, Director of the Bighorn Institute; Mike Pool, BLM California State Director; Roland Burbank, Bighorn Institute board member; John Kalish, BLM Palm Springs-South Coast Field Office Manager; Dick McClung, Bighorn Institute board member; Steve Borchard, BLM California Desert District Manager; Kent Roberts, Bighorn Institute board member; Lawrence Cone, Bighorn Institute board member; and Craig Williams, Bighorn Institute board member.

- J. Kalish, 12/07

BLM California News.bytes, issue 309

Last updated: 12-05-2007