WILDLIFE in the WEST

Threatened and endangered species in the West cover the gamut. They are bighorn sheep and wolves. They are sage-grouse and salmon. They are pygmy rabbits and spotted frogs.

Our wildlife cases wield the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and others to halt habitat destruction – unchecked grazing, industrial development, mining exploration, obsolete dams – wildlife in the West face these and many other threats daily.

As climate change and human activities cause the loss and fragmentation of habitats, our work becomes increasingly vital. We strive to protect and boost diminishing wildlife populations – from the mighty bighorn to the fragile frog.

Wishbone Bighorn Herd Protection
Status: PENDING

Wishbone Bighorn Herd Protection

Case: WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project V. U.S. Forest Service, Case #1:19-cv-00208

May 20, 2020 – Advocates for the West filed our opening brief in the US District Court for the District of Colorado arguing that the forest managers knew the risk that domestic sheep would pose to bighorn, yet authorized grazing anyway January 24, 2019 – Advocates for the West filed suit to halt the Rio Grande…

Challenging Wildlife Killing Program in Idaho
Status: PENDING

Challenging Wildlife Killing Program in Idaho

Case: Case 1:20-cv-00213-DCN

May 7, 2020 — Advocates for the West and in-house counsel from client Western Watersheds Project are suing USDA Wildlife Services for killing thousands of coyotes and other native wildlife in Idaho, mostly at the request of livestock producers, without first completing an up-to-date analysis disclosing the environmental consequences of those actions. In 2018, we won a case against…

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area Grazing
Status: PENDING

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area Grazing

Case: Case 4:20-cv-00149-JGZ

April 7, 2020 – Advocates for the West filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on behalf of Western Watersheds Project and Center for Biological Diversity for the agency’s failure to protect the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (RNCA) from damage caused by livestock grazing. The BLM’s 2019 management plan sanctioned  destructive levels of livestock grazing…

Oil & Gas Leases in Sage-Grouse Habitat
Status: WON
February 27, 2020

Oil & Gas Leases in Sage-Grouse Habitat

Case: Western Watersheds Project and Center for Biological Diversity V. Ryan K. Zinke, David Bernhardt; and BLM

February 27, 2020 – Advocates for the West won a significant victory when the court overturned a Trump administration policy which curtailed public participation in oil and gas leasing decisions. The court also granted Advocates for the West‘s request to void lease sales covering nearly 1 million acres of public lands — roughly a quarter of all…

Gas Drilling in Pronghorn Migration Path
Status: PENDING

Gas Drilling in Pronghorn Migration Path

Case: Case 2:19-cv-00146-SWS

February 19, 2020 – Advocates for the West filed a legal petition challenging the Trump administration’s plan to allow 3,500 new gas wells in southwestern Wyoming. The massive frack-field expansion could block the ancient Path of the Pronghorn and prevent access to winter ranges that the animals need to survive. The iconic 170-mile migratory path connects…

Willamette Basin ESA Violations
Status: PENDING

Willamette Basin ESA Violations

Case: Case 3:20-cv-00413

March 12, 2020 – Advocates for the West filed suit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for failing to address our concerns over the agency’s plans to reallocate over 1.6 million acre feet of water from the Willamette River Basin to agricultural irrigation and peak-season city water demands. The Corps continues to push its…

Antelope Allotment Grazing Followup
Status: PENDING

Antelope Allotment Grazing Followup

Case: Case 1:19-cv-00516-MC

February 25, 2020 — Advocates for the West filed our reply brief in this case. December 20, 2019 — Advocates for the West filed a motion for summary judgment in this case. We are asking the court to issue a ruling in our favor based on more than a decade of the agency’s own scientific evidence and…

Kilgore Mine Exploration in Centennial Mountains
Status: WON
December 18, 2019

Kilgore Mine Exploration in Centennial Mountains

Case: Case 1:18-cv-00504-CWD

May 4, 2020 — The U.S. District Court in Idaho revoked the Forest Service’s approval of the Kilgore Project and stopped Otis Gold Corp. (now Excellon Resources Inc.) from moving forward with its exploration project. This important decision follows Judge Winmill’s December 2019 ruling that the Forest Service failed to consider Otis’s underground drilling as a…

Salmon and Steelhead Die-Offs in Columbia and Snake Rivers
Status: WON
December 20, 2019

Salmon and Steelhead Die-Offs in Columbia and Snake Rivers

Case: Columbia Riverkeeper v. Scott Pruitt, Administrator of EPA

May 19, 2020 — EPA released its TMDL to control heat pollution in the Columbia and Snake rivers. EPA’s plan is further evidence that removing the four Lower Snake River dams is necessary to restore salmon and orcas. March 30, 2020 – The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the EPA’s petition to rehear this case….

Sawtooth National Forest Water Diversions
Status: WON
June 17, 2019

Sawtooth National Forest Water Diversions

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service

June 17, 2019 – Court order Forest Service to analyze water use at the 20 diversions and determining how to mitigate negative impacts on fish. March 13, 2017 – Advocates for the West sent the Forest Service a notice of intent to sue for violating the Endangered Species Act by authorizing 23 existing irrigation diversions and ditches in…