February 2017

URGENT – Please Comment on La Quinta Fence Today

The Coachella Valley Conservation Commission released a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the La Quinta Peninsular Bighorn Sheep Barrier Project, to address bighorn sheep utilizing the golf courses and urban areas of La Quinta (http://www.cvmshcp.org/DEIR_Documents.htm). Ewes and lambs have been coming down to four golf courses (Tradition, SilverRock, PGA West, and The Quarry) since 2012 and now there is a group of around 40 sheep that use the urban areas daily and have become extremely habituated. Ewes no longer follow their innate behavior for rearing lambs in steep escape terrain, rather, they stray far from the mountains in the flats. Bighorn pass home range knowledge down to lambs so for the past few years, each new group of lambs has been taught that the golf courses are their “normal” place to live. This is detrimental to the current herd as well as the future population since many lambs have become sick, which will continue as they browse in close contact. We have also documented 12 sheep dying on or near the golf courses since 2012, which were completely preventable with a fence. The Sheep Barrier Project proposes an 8 feet high fence, which we fully support, but it has several build options. Alternative A, the toe of slope option, is the best option for the bighorn sheep. It minimizes the habitat lost to the sheep and will keep them out of the urban area, however, requires private landowner permission. The other fence build options remove between 420 and 2400 acres of important lambing habitat. We are asking everyone to email brief comments in support of the fence Alternative A by 5:00pm today, February 27th, to Katie Barrows (kbarrows@cvag.org).