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.

Sonoran Desert National Monument Followup Case

Case: Western Watersheds Project and Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management

August 9, 2023 — Advocates for the West won our lawsuit, halting livestock grazing authorizations in the Sonoran Desert National Monument. For the second time, a judge determined that the Bureau of Land Management relied on faulty information to justify livestock grazing on fragile desert landscapes within the Monument. March 22, 2023 — Advocates for…

Oil & Gas Leases in Sage-Grouse Habitat

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

January 5, 2024 — Advocates for the West won a victory upholding our June 2021 Phase Two win suspending new drilling and fracking on 605 federal oil and gas leases. U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Raymond Patricco addressed two motions in his ruling. First, Judge Patricco denied an industry motion effectively seeking to allow the drilling of new…

Caldwell Canyon Phosphate Mine

Case: Center for Biological Diversity, Western Watersheds Project, and WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Mary D'Aversa, and U.S. Department of the Interior

June 2, 2023 — Advocates for the West won another major victory when a federal judge fully vacated a set of approvals by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) authorizing development of the Caldwell Canyon phosphate mine. The Court said that any economic burdens caused by its decision to vacate the BLM’s prior approvals for…

Logging in the Salmon-Clearwater Divide

Case: Friends of the Clearwater v. Cheryl F. Probert and U.S. Forest Service

January 3, 2023 — Advocates for the West received affirmation of our June 2022 victory on behalf of Friends of the Clearwater to protect old growth forests on Idaho’s Salmon-Clearwater Divide. The U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho denied the Forest Service’s motion to amend the prior decision ordering the agency to conduct…

Sheep Experiment Station Followup Case

Case: Western Watersheds Project, WildEarth Guardians, and Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, and USDA Agricultural Research Service

April 16, 2021 — A federal judge ruled in favor of Advocates for the West and against the reauthorization and expansion of domestic sheep grazing in and around the US Sheep Experiment Station in Idaho’s Centennial Mountains on the Idaho-Montana border. With this decision, the Sheep Station is not permitted to graze sheep on the summer…

Protecting Bighorn Sheep in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest

Case: WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project v. Kristin Bail and U.S. Forest Service

June 12, 2023 — Advocates for the West filed a settlement agreement in federal court requires the U.S. Forest Service to take action to protect nearly half of the wild bighorn sheep in Washington state from disease outbreaks originating from domestic sheep. Under the settlement, the Forest Service will complete a long-overdue environmental review in…

Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead

Case: Northwest Environmental Defense Center, WildEarth Guardians, and Native Fish Society v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Marine Fisheries Service

September 1, 2021 – U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez issued a final opinion and order directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Marine Fisheries Service to immediately undertake new measures at dams in the Willamette basin to prevent the extinction of threatened Upper Willamette River wild spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead. In the…

Bonneville Power Administration: FOIA Records Request

Case: Advocates for the West v. Bonneville Power Administration

October 5, 2020 – Advocates for the West filed a motion for partial summary judgment and we are now moving for a court order requiring BPA to disclose documents to us at an accelerated pace. June 26, 2020 — Advocates for the West filed suit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to compel the Bonneville…

Colville National Forest Wolves

Case: WildEarth Guardians, Western Watersheds Project, and Kettle Range Conservation Group V. US Forest Service

January 22, 2021 — Advocates for the West, in partnership with Jennifer Schwartz of WildEarth Guardians and Talasi Brooks of Western Watersheds Project, jointly filed a summary judgement brief, along with declarations from wolf expert Carter Niemeyer, Kettle Range Conservation Group executive director Timothy Coleman, and biologist Jocelyn Leroux. Our filing compels the court to find that…

Wishbone Bighorn Herd Protection

Case: WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project V. U.S. Forest Service

July 20, 2020 — Advocates for the West filed our reply brief in this case. 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…