Mono Basin Sage-Grouse
Update on the Fight to Protect the Mono Basin Sage-Grouse
Advocates for the West, and our clients Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians, are one step closer to improving protections for the Mono-Basin Sage-Grouse, a genetically unique population of the imperiled greater sage-grouse.
On December 7, 2011, we filed our opening brief in a lawsuit that challenges BLM’s decision to reauthorize livestock grazing during the summer nesting and brood-rearing season in some of the most important breeding habitat in the Mono Basin. This opening brief will be one of several briefs that Judge Mueller of the Eastern District of California reviews before deciding the case. Judge Mueller will hear oral argument on March 14, 2012 in Sacramento.
The Mono Basin sage-grouse isn’t like other sage-grouse. He struts on leks the same way sage-grouse across the West have been doing for millenia, but the Mono Basin sage-grouse has unique genetic material that makes him uniquely important to the preservation of the species.
Mono Basin sage-grouse (also called the “Bi-State” sage-grouse) live on the western fringe of the sage-grouse’s range on the border between central California and Nevada. The population of sage-grouse here is small, geographically isolated from other populations, and genetically unique. These traits make the Mono Basin sage-grouse especially vulnerable to the threats responsible for the west wide decline of the sage-grouse, including livestock grazing.
On behalf of our clients Western Watersheds Project and WildEarth Guardians, Advocates for the West is challenging BLM’s decision to authorize livestock grazing during the sage-grouse’s nesting season on four allotments in the Mono Basin, the “Bodie Hills” allotments. BLM’s grazing permits will further push this genetically distinct sage-grouse species closer to the brink of extinction.
We are honored to be working closely with the Stanford Law Clinic as co-counselors in this litigation. Advocates for the West believes that an important aspect of our work is building bridges with bright public interest attorneys of tomorrow. Together we are representing WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project.