Central Idaho wolves

Central Idaho wolves

Current Status:

Date Filed:
Jan 2, 2010

Case Title:
Wolf Recovery Foundation and Western Watersheds Project, et al v. U.S. Forest Service and USDA Aphis Wildlife Services

Staff attorney(s):
Laird J. Lucas
Laurie Rule


Sierra Club

Idaho Conservation League

Great Old Broads for Wilderness

To Protect:



Case Information:

In the second round of this case, Plaintiffs Wolf Recovery Foundation and Western Watersheds Project challenged APHIS Wildlife Services for failing to conduct any environmental analysis of the impacts of its wolf control actions.  Wildlife Services kills many wolves each year in the state of Idaho that are believed to have attacked livestock.  These wolf killings often remove many wolves from the same pack or sometimes entire packs.  Yet the agency has never taken a hard look at the impacts of these wolf killings, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.  Plaintiffs had a court hearing on December 6, 2010 for this claim and are awaiting a final decision from the Court.

February 3, 2010 — We filed an emergency injunction motion to prevent US Forest Service and Idaho Fish and Game Dept. from landing helicopters this winter in the Frank Church Wilderness. The agencies seek to operate and land helicopters in the Wilderness to dart and collar wolves, in violation of Wilderness Act and NEPA.

Dozens of supporters of The Wilderness Society, Great Old Broads For Wilderness, Idaho Conservation League, Wolf Recovery Foundation, Winter Wildlands Alliance, Wilderness Watch, Sierra Club, and Western Watersheds Project filed supporting declarations attesting to the harm they will suffer if the helicopter landings in Wilderness are allowed.

This case was initially brought for Wolf Recovery Foundation and Western Watershed Project to protect Central Idaho wolves from adverse effects of livestock grazing in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, where the Forest Service is supposed to protect all wildlife from “substantial impairment” due to grazing, but is not doing so.  These initial Plaintiffs also challenge USDA APHIS Wildlife Services’ continued wolf killings in central Idaho, as violating NEPA for not having any current environmental assessment.

In an amended complaint filed 2/2/10, The Wilderness Society, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Idaho Conservation League, Winter Wildlands Alliance, Wilderness Watch, and Sierra Club joined the case to challenge Forest Service’s December 2009 decision allowing Idaho Fish and Game to land helicopters in the Frank Church Wilderness for purposes of collaring wolves.  Plaintiffs filed an emergency motion for injunctive relief on 2/3/10 seeking to prohibit the helicopter wolf collaring operations in the Wilderness.

Our injunction motion was supported by over two dozens declarations from Plaintiffs’ members, who treasure the Frank Church wilderness and oppose using helicopters to collar wolves in the wilderness.  Their stories are eloquent and fascinating — ranging from a 79 year old grandmother (Ginger Harmon) to recent college graduates (Chris Hansen and Blake Everson), who all love the wilderness.