Burnt Creek Grazing Allotment

Burnt Creek Grazing Allotment

Current Status:

Case Title:
WWP v. Rosenkrance, No. 09-cv-365 (D. Idaho)

Staff attorney(s):
Laurie Rule


Western Watersheds Project

To Protect:

Bull Trout
Greater Sage Grouse

Date won/settled:
July 1, 2010



Victory for Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area

We’ve received a victory in our challenge of a BLM grazing plan for the Burnt Creek allotment, located within the Pahsimeroi Valley’s Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area!  This stunning area is located in the shadow of Borah Peak in the rugged Lost River Range.

On behalf of Western Watersheds Project, Advocates challenged a BLM environmental analysis and decision to reissue a 10-year grazing permit on this allotment, arguing that BLM had failed to analyze impacts of the proposed grazing and fencing on the wilderness values of the Wilderness Study Area.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho agreed, overturning the decision and explaining that the “environmental analysis fails to address whether the wilderness values of the Burnt Creek WSA . . . will be impaired by (1) the BLM’s decision to allow grazing on this allotment, and (2) the cumulative effects of this decision and other grazing permitted across the entire Burnt Creek WSA.”  The full decision is linked below.

Upper Salmon Litigation


Advocates for the West filed three new cases in June and July 2009 for client Western Watersheds Project, suing the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management over their legal violations in managing public lands in the Pahsimeroi and Lemhi watersheds of central Idaho.

The Pahsimeroi and Lemhi watersheds offer vital habitat for endangered fish – including salmon, steelhead and bull trout — as well as sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, and other sagebrush species.  Yet the federal agencies continue to authorize livestock grazing and grazing-related water developments and diversions without accounting for the harms they cause to these imperiled species and their habitats.  These three cases are the first of a suite of lawsuits aimed at improving habitat conditions in the Upper Salmon basin.

Case Information:

The Burnt Creek allotment is located in the Upper Pahsimeroi watershed, which is occupied by bull trout and sage grouse; and extends over much of the Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area.

Our prior litigation in 2002-03 forced BLM to close the allotment to grazing for 4 years, although repeated livestock “trespass” occurred during that time, continuing to harm bull trout habitat.

This latest case challenges BLM’s decision to reopen the allotment to grazing despite the past management failures and legal violations; and threatens to impair Wilderness values while harming bull trout and sage grouse.

In July 2010, the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho agreed that BLM’s new decision failed to take account of the wilderness values of the Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area, and declared it to be in violation of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.