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.

Idaho Wildlife Services 2017 FOIA
Status: PENDING

Idaho Wildlife Services 2017 FOIA

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. USDA APHIS Wildlife Services

Finding out What Wildlife Services is up to in our State Advocates for the West filed suit on behalf of Western Watersheds Project, challenging Wildlife Services’ failure to adequately and timely respond to two Freedom of Information Act requests seeking information about Wildlife Services’ activities in Idaho.  In both cases, Wildlife Services failed to fully…

Idaho Wildlife Services 2016 Environmental Assessment
Status: PENDING

Idaho Wildlife Services 2016 Environmental Assessment

Case: Western Watersheds Project et al. v. USDA APHIS Wildlife Services

Stopping the Slaughter: Suing Wildlife Services Advocates for the West filed suit on behalf of Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, and Predator Defense, over a 2016 decision through which Wildlife Services seeks to expand its slaughter of thousands of ravens and coyotes, as well as wolves, black bears, mountain lions,…

Soldier Meadows
Status: WON

Soldier Meadows

Case: Committee for the High Desert, WWP et al. v. Abbey, No. N-02-cv- (D. Nevada)

The 330,00-acre Soldier Meadows allotment lies adjacent to the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada; and includes parts of the recently-designated Black Rock wilderness and other new wilderness areas. Soldier Meadows also has numerous springs and streams occupied by endangered fish species, including the Lahontan cutthroat trout and desert dace. Yet BLM has allowed livestock grazing to…

Wildlife Services Wolf-Killing in Idaho
Status: PENDING

Wildlife Services Wolf-Killing in Idaho

Case: Case #1:16-cv-218

June 1, 2016:  Advocates for the West filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging USDA-Wildlife Services’ killing of gray wolves in Idaho. The agency killed at least 72 wolves in Idaho in 2015, using methods including foothold traps, neck snares and aerial gunning from helicopters. The agency has used aerial gunning in central Idaho’s “Lolo zone” for…

Sawtooth National Forest Water Diversions
Status: PENDING

Sawtooth National Forest Water Diversions

Case: Notice of intent to sue

Launching Case to Protect Idaho Fish from Irrigation Diversions in the Sawtooth National Forest On 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 Idaho’s Sawtooth Valley without addressing long-standing adverse impacts to fish….

Pygmy rabbit listing
Status: DISMISSED

Pygmy rabbit listing

Case: WWP et al v. Kempthorne, No. 06-cv-127-EJL (D. Idaho)

ESA listing case, challenging US Fish and Wildlife Service’s “90-day finding” rejecting WWP’s listing petition for pygmy rabbit — the word’s tiniest bunny. Pygmy rabbits dig burrows under sagebrush; climb up in sagebrush to scout and feed; and otherwise depend on sagebrush throughout their lives.  Loss and degradation of sagebrush habitats across the range of pygmy rabbits (including Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and…

Otter Creek Diversion Challenge
Status: WON

Otter Creek Diversion Challenge

Case: IWP v. Jones, 00-cv-730-BLW (D. Idaho)

Endangered Species Act citizen suit against Verl and Tuddie Jones for unlawful “take” of threatened bull trout through operation of their unscreened diversion on Otter Creek, located on Salmon Challis National Forest public lands. We won an injunction prohibiting further diversions until the irrigator obtained a special use permit from US Forest Service, and it conducted ESA consultation…

Herd Creek diversion
Status: SETTLED

Herd Creek diversion

Case: IWP v. Bennetts, 00-cv-729 (D. Idaho)

Endangered Species Act citizen suit against Jim Bennetts for unlawful “take” of threatened salmon, steelhead, and bull trout associated with his unscreened public lands diversions on Herd Creek and Lake Creek (East Fork Salmon River watershed), and because of livestock damage to critical habitat on his base property. After we filed for summary judgment supported by several…

Mahogany Creek diversion
Status: SETTLED

Mahogany Creek diversion

Case: IWP v. Whitworth, oo-cv-728 (D. Idaho)

Endangered Species Act citizen suit against Judd Whitworth and Sulphur Creek Livestock for unlawful “take” of threatened bull trout through operation of unscreened public lands diversion on Mahogany Creek, tributary to upper Pahsimeroi River. Our experts showed that the Mahogany Creek diversion would likely “take” bull trout through entrainment into the unscreened ditch, which continued…

Sawtooth Wolves
Status: WON

Sawtooth Wolves

Case: WWP & ICL v. Sawtooth National Forest, 01-cv-389-BLW (D. Idaho)