Center for Biological Diversity

Protecting endangered species and wild places of western North America
and the Pacific through science, policy, education, and environmental law.

Monday, Dec. 10, 2001

BLM protects endangered Peninsular Ranges bighorn sheep lambing habitat from off-road vehicles and unauthorized mining.

Contact: Daniel R. Patterson, Desert Ecologist 520.623.5252 x 306

IMPERIAL COUNTY, CA On November 30, Greg Thomsen, U.S. Bureau of Land Management El Centro Field Office Manager, seasonally closed two environmentally harmful roads crossing public land in the Coyote Mountains, near the San Diego/Imperial County line, from January 1-June 30.

"We appreciate that BLM managers have finally acted to uphold bighorn protection agreements in the Coyote Mountains," said Daniel Patterson, CBD's Desert Ecologist. "We strongly support BLM's efforts for sheep recovery by reducing harassment and stress associated with motor vehicle use near lambing areas. To aid bighorn recovery long-term, BLM should make this protection permanent."

The BLM decision to stop motor vehicle use of two roads leading to lambing sites went in to effect immediately upon signature, and will last until BLM receives a biological opinion from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. January 1-June 30 is a critical biological time for sheep to give birth and raise newborn lambs, and Carrizo Peak within the Coyote Mountains is a known important lambing site.

BLM will construct two gates to block motor vehicle use on the lambing grounds by the end of this year. Non-motorized uses are not affected by BLM's decision. Unauthorized mining damage on Carrizo Peak which has been an on-going problem for BLM will also be halted by blocking unpermitted vehicle use in the area.

Although agency managers agreed to protect the bighorn lambing site on March 1, 2001, BLM stalled action until now leaving the lambing site unprotected for four months this spring.

This wildlife recovery action arises out of the landmark agreement between BLM, the Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and five off-road groups to protect 24+ species and their habitat across the 25 million acre California Desert Conservation Area. The court approved consent decree covering Peninsular Ranges bighorn sheep may be obtained at:

For more information contact:
Greg Thomsen, BLM El Centro Field Office Manager 760.337.4410
Mark Jorgensen, Peninsular Ranges Bighorn Sheep Recovery Team 760.767.5311


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