4th of May 2021

Yesterday, Staff Attorney Bryan Hurlbutt argued before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to defend our 2019 victory ordering that the Forest Service take action to protect salmon, steelhead, and bull trout from harmful irrigation diversions in Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley. The water users appealed the district court decision, but we were ready to defend our win for the Idaho Conservation League and fight for our threatened and endangered fish.

Advocates for the West provides our winning legal services to clients free of charge. When you make a donation, you are funding critical cases like this and many others to protect the West’s treasured public lands, waterways and wildlife. And when you donate during Idaho Gives, your gift will go twice as far thanks to a $40,000 matching challenge from the Tzo-Nah Fund.

“Idaho salmon and steelhead make one of earth’s most remarkable migrations, swimming upriver for nearly 800 miles and climbing over a mile in elevation to return to the Sawtooth Valley to spawn,” said Bryan.”Unfortunately, the arduous journey isn’t over when fish arrive in the Sawtooth Valley. Streams in the Sawtooth National Forest are riddled with unregulated irrigation diversions that degrade water quality, block fish passage, and deplete streamflows.”

He added, “I was proud to appear before the Ninth Circuit yesterday to defend our 2019 lower court victory. We hope to receive a favorable decision from the Ninth Circuit this year, affirming that the Forest Service must act now — before it’s too late — to protect endangered and threatened salmon and steelhead from irrigation diversions on our public lands.”Now is the perfect time to back our work! 

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