Jarbidge Sage-Grouse

Jarbidge Sage-Grouse

Current Status:

Date Filed:
Feb 26, 2009

Case Title:
Western Watersheds Project v. Tom Dyer, Rick Vandervoet, Bureau of Land Management

Staff attorney(s):
Laird J. Lucas
Todd Tucci


Western Watersheds Project

To Protect:

Greater Sage Grouse
Pygmy Rabbit

Date won/settled:
February 1, 2009


Case Information:

April 14, 2011 — A federal judge has ordered BLM to close to livestock grazing 17 allotments in the Jarbidge Field Office in southwestern Idaho, and has given Simplot Livestock and other permittees about two weeks to remove all livestock from the closed areas.  Animating the court’s decision was the continuing collapse of sage-grouse populations and habitat.

February 26, 2009 — Chief U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill granted an injunction to Western Watersheds Project over BLM grazing management on 36 allotments covering more than 625,000 acres of public lands in the Jarbidge Resource Area of southern Idaho.

This long-standing litigation challenges BLM’s mismanagement of grazing in the Jarbidge Resource Area of southern Idaho, which has harmed sage-grouse, pygmy rabbits, and other sensitive sagebrush-obligate species and their habitats. Our first court victory, in 2004, held that BLM violated NEPA in approving “temporary” grazing increases sought by Simplot Co. and other major corporate ranchers.

In 2005, the court held that BLM violated NEPA and FLPMA in approving long-term grazing increases despite a sharp decline in Jarbidge sage-grouse populations. See Western Watersheds Project v. Bennett, 392 F.Supp.2d 1217 (D. Idaho 2005). After the massive Murphy Fire burned 70% of the remaining Jarbidge sage grouse nesting habitat in 2007, the court held a 2-week trial and ruled in February 2009 that “grazing-as-usual” must end in order to protect sage-grouse.