bighorn sheep

VOLUNTEERS BRAVED HEAT TO COUNT BIGHORN SHEEP

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy Anza Borrego Foundation

July 26, 2018 (Borrego Springs) — With temperatures over 100 degrees, 79 volunteered fanned out for the annual Peninsular Bighorn Sheep count at 19 sites in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park from June 29 to July 1st.   A total of 225 sheep were counted, up from 207 in 2017, but last year had the lowest in five years, down from 296 in 2014.

BORREGO VALLEY INN AND PALM CANYON HOTEL & RV RESORT: WEEKEND GETAWAYS FOR STARGAZING COUPLES AND FAMILIES

 

Backcountry hidden pleasures:   Our guide to unique lodging adventures in San Diego’s beautiful backcountry

Story and most photos by Jonathan Ronald Goetz

Photo, left: Borrego Valley Inn, courtesy of Bryre Roots

Photo, right: Palm Canyon Hotel and RV Resort with renovated Western theme

May 7, 2018 (Borrego Springs) -- Borrego Springs and the surrounding Anza-Borrego Desert State Park  are among the best places in the world to see the night sky, drawing visitors from across the globe.

Borrego Valley Inn, an intimate couples-only hotel and its sister property, Palm Canyon Hotel & RV Resort, a Western-themed, family-friendly hotel also offering ‘50s-style vintage glamping, both provide historic charm and comfort for guests seeking affordable lodging  as well as celestial night sights.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW WITH MARK JORGENSEN, AUTHOR OF DESERT BIGHORN SHEEP, WILDERNESS ICON

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 15,2016 (Borrego)—We sat down for an interview with Mark Jorgensen,  former  Superintendent of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park and author of the award-winning book, Desert Bighorn Sheep,  Wilderness Icon. 

He spoke about the progress made to protect these  magnificent animals,  as well as threats to their survival and challenges that remain.  You can listen now by clicking the link to our interview, which originally aired on the East County Magazine Show on KNSJ 89.1 FM Radio.

Audio: 

Mark Jorgensen, author of Desert Bighorn Sheep Wilderness Icon, interview

ROCK HOUSE/BORDER PATROL TRAIL HIKE IN JACUMBA FEB. 28

 

February 24, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Spring is in the air – and the Jacumba Hikers and Walkers are hitting the trail. On Saturday, February 28th the group will meet at the Jacumba Spa (44500 Old Highway 80) then head out along the Border Patrol Trail to Airport Mesa and the Rock House for a five mile hike.

EXPERTS VOICE ALARM OVER SURVIVAL OF LOCAL BIGHORN SHEEP

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Could big energy projects proposed in East County lead to the decimation of federally endangered Peninsular Bighorn Sheep? 

From 1972 to the present, the Carrizo Gorge band of these bighorns has plummeted from about 120 sheep to less than 40.  “Off-road vehicles, trespassing cattle, poaching in the 1960s and ‘70s, drought, disease and Mountain Lion predation have worked together to push this population o the edge. We hope we can save this group before it is too late,” Mark Jorgensen, advisor to the Bighorn Institute and former Superintendent of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park wrote in the Desert News.

In his comments submitted on  four solar projects proposed by Soitec in Boulevard, Jorgensen writes that “Construction of yet another group of solar projects will further impede the free movement of wildlife by reducing habitat connectivity and ruining wildlife corridors.”  He further notes that Soitec’s sites are very near lands purchased and set aside specifically to protect species  the endangered bighorn, golden eagles and other species in peril.

ENDANGERED BIGHORN SPOTTED IN MCCAIN VALLEY

 

January 2, 2014 (McCain Valley) -- While hiking in McCain Valley north of Sacatone Road on New Year's Day, Laurie Baker and her husband encountered these two Peninsular Bighorn rams.

"What a pleasant surprise!" Baker exclaimed of her New Year's discovery -- an important sighting, since the draft environmental impact statement for Iberdrola Renewables' planned Tule Wind project in McCain Valley concludes that wind turbines aren "located outside of critical habitat areas and will not have any detrimental impacts on sheep."

Finding proof of the endangered animals doesn't assure their protection, however.  When Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express Wind Facility was approved, the project's environmental report similarly concluded that the site was not bighorn habitat.  When photos of a herd of bighorn on the project site were sent to then Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, he issued take permits allowing up to 10 bighorn ewes and lambs to be killed, allowing the project to proceed at the expense of this critically endangered species which is at risk of extinction, according to the Bighorn Institute.

COUNTING SHEEP: ANNUAL BIGHORN TALLY NOW IN

 

By Miriam Raftery; photo by Daren Sefcik

July 17, 2013 (Borrego) – The 43rd annual sheep count in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park was completed July 5-7.

“This year we tallied 332 bighorn, which replaces the 2011 count as the second largest tally in sheep count history at Anza-Borrego,” states a letter to volunteers from coordinators Steve Bier and Mark C. Jorgensen. 

The numbers don’t tell the whole story, though.  The count did not include some portions of the park where populations may be under the most stress—and at least two dead sheep were found during the count due to apparent dehydration.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: BIGHORN SHEEP AT MOUNTAIN SPRINGS

 

May 24, 2013 (Mountain Springs) - Photographers Jim Pelley and Parke Ewing spotted a herd of endangered Peninsular Bighorn sheep preparing to cross I-8 in Mountain Springs, at the county line separating San Diego and Imperial Valley counties. 

Residents report that wildlife is returning to the area over the past week, since wind turbines at the adjacent Ocotillo area have been silenced during the investigation into a blade that fell from a wind turbine.

 

How many sheep can you find ih the photo below? (click "read more" to view.)  We don't know the answer, but Pelley says spotting the well-camouflaged sheep reminds him of playing "Where's Waldo."

PATTERN ENERGY RECEIVES AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ENVIRONMENTAL ANALYSIS AT OCOTILLO

 

Image left: Bighorn Sheep at Ocotillo - Robert Baran photo, East County Magazine

By   Roy L. Hales at San Diego Loves Green, originally posted April 21, 2013

April 23, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The California Association of Environmental Professionals has awarded the Ocotillo Wind project with its highest award for Outstanding Environmental Analysis and Documentation at a joint conference of AEP and the National Association of Environmental Professionals (NAEP). The Builder, Pattern Energy, claims,  “The Ocotillo Wind project will provide enough clean and renewable energy to power nearly 125,000 homes in Southern California each year.”

Speaking as a non-scientist, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the name Ocotillo is a stream of videos (click on this link to go to the Save Ocotillo index page) that stretches beyond the four months this project has been online and continues to document the scarcity of wind. Though not a “scientific study,” they never-the-less constitute a visual chronology that includes a great many details that would not otherwise be available to the public. One has to merely scan the titles to realize something is very wrong:

42ND ANNUAL BIGHORN SHEEP COUNT JULY 5 TO 8, 2012

 
June 16, 2012 (Anza-Borrego) -- Over the Fourth of July weekend, volunteers will head into Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to participate in the annual bighorn sheep count. If you can brave the heat, you’re invited to be part of this citizen science in action to help count this endangered population of desert bighorn sheep.
 

PHOTOS OF THE MONTH: DESERT BIGHORNS

April 12, 2012 (Ocotillo) – “My wife, Mary, and I had the pleasure of seeing a large group of bighorn sheep while we were on one of our desert wildflower trips,” Robert Baran says.

They photographed a group of 15 or more Peninsular Bighorn Sheep on Saturday, April 7 between Meyer Creek and Ocotillo.