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.

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
June 13, 2002

Sawtooth Wolves

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

Sawtooth North Sheep Allotments
Status: WON
February 7, 2006

Sawtooth North Sheep Allotments

Case: WWP & Dr. Randall Hermann v. US Forest Service, 05-cv-189 (D. Idaho)

In response to our victory in the SNRA wolves case, Forest Service prepared an EIS for new grazing management on North Sheep, Smiley Creek, and other allotments in the Sawtooth National Forest of central Idaho, which are home to wolves, bighorn sheep, and endangered salmon and other fish.  These allotments are grazed by domestic sheep, which…

Sawtooth — North Sheep 2009
Status: DISMISSED

Sawtooth — North Sheep 2009

Case: WWP v. Forest Service, 05-cv-189 (D. Idaho)

Opening summary judgment brief filed June 25, 2010 in the Sawtooth–North Sheep case alleges that the Forest Service failed to take a “hard look” at sheep grazing impacts on several Sawtooth National Forest allotments, particularly on sensitive wildlife including fish and sage grouse.  Even though we won a prior court order requiring analysis of grazing…

Clearwater Old Growth
Status: WON
April 1, 2005

Clearwater Old Growth

Case: The Wilderness Society et al v. Bosworth, 118 F. Supp. 2d 1082 (D. Mont. 2000)

Representing a broad coalition of national, state and local conservation groups, we brought this case in 1997 to stop Forest Service plans to log old growth forests in the Clearwater region of central Idaho — including the headwaters of the Lochsa and North Fork Clearwater rivers.   The case focused on how logging and logging roads…

Status: WON
April 28, 2005

Clearwater — Lolo Creek Timber Sales

Case:

We won an injunction in 2004 preventing the Clearwater National Forest from proceeding with two adjoining timber sales in the Lolo Creek watershed of central Idaho, to protect habitat of imperilled fish — including salmon, steelhead, and bull trout. Even though the Forest Service developed the two sales — called “White/White” and “Brick/Trout” — at the…

Status: DISMISSED

Interior Mountain quail

Case: 9th Cir. 07-39577

Interior Mountain Quail were once abundant across the sagebrush-steppe, but are now reduced to a few populations in Oregon, Nevada and Idaho; and remaining populations are threatened by habitat destruction from grazing and other impacts. The US Fish and Wildlife Service rejected client Western Watersheds Project’s petition to list Interior Mountain Quail under the ESA, saying it is not a “distinct” population…

Selkirk Woodland Caribou
Status: WON
February 26, 2007

Selkirk Woodland Caribou

Case: Defenders of Wildlife et al v. Martin et al, No. 05-cv-248-RHW (E.D. Wash)

Mountain caribou are found in the US only in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and Washington, and are among the most critically endangered mammals in the lower 48 states.  The caribou feed on lichen in old growth forests to survive the winter, and are easily startled by motorized vehicles — which displace them from their…

Meadow Creek ORVs
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Meadow Creek ORVs

Case: The Wilderness Society and Idaho Conservation League v. Forest Service, No. 08-cv-236-BLW (D. Idaho)

Meadow Creek is a major tributary to the Selway River in central Idaho which is a candidate Wild and Scenic river; and it offers some of the best habitat anywhere for endangered salmon, steelhead and bull trout.  The Idaho conservation community has long fought to protect Meadow Creek from logging, roads, and other human impacts. Working…

Washington State Lands
Status: WON
January 1, 2009

Washington State Lands

Case: Dr. Steve Herman & WWP v. WDFW, No. 08-2-00276-1, Thurston County Sup. Ct

Three rounds of state court litigation challenging Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife’s agreement with ranchers to open state wildlife refuges to livestock grazing, various grazing leases given by WDFW on state wildlife refuges, and an EIS which opened up the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area to grazing.  These include areas vital to the last remaining sage-grouse populations…