The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is inviting public comment on a proposal to prohibit visitors from bringing domestic sheep or goats onto WDFW-managed wildlife areas.

The proposed rule is intended to reduce the spread of Movi, a type of bacteria that causes pneumonia and can be deadly to bighorn sheep.

The agency says past pneumonia outbreaks among bighorns in Washington have been linked to contact with domestic sheep or goats, which carry the bacteria but are not affected by it.

WDFW says there's no treatment or vaccine for bighorn sheep who get pneumonia, caused by the Movi bacteria.

The proposed rule would apply to 12 WDFW wildlife areas, including the area in Chelan County. The majority of the 30,874-acre Chelan wildlife area is located between Wenatchee and Chelan along the Columbia River.

The other 11WDFW wildlife areas subject to the proposal are units of Asotin Creek, Chelan, Chief Joseph, Colockum, Columbia Basin, L.T. Murray, Oak Creek, Scotch Creek, Sinlahekin, Wells, Wenas, and W.T. Wooten wildlife areas.

“We want to protect wild sheep while preserving opportunities for people who enjoy hiking and hunting with pack goats,” said Joel Sisolak, WDFW lands planning, recreation and outreach section manager. “We are proposing a targeted approach to ensure those opportunities remain available in other parts of the state.”

The public is invited to comment on the proposed rule by submitting written comments here, through email at or by mail to WDFW’s Wildlife Program: PO Box 43200, Olympia, WA  98504. WDFW will accept comments until 11:59 p.m. Nov. 30.

The public is also invited to attend a virtual hearing, scheduled for 3 to 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, in which WDFW Director Kelly Susewind will hear feedback and decide on the proposed rule. People wanting to have their comments incorporated into the Dec. 1 meeting presentation should submit their comments by 8 a.m. Nov. 23.

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