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.

Wildlife Services in Idaho
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Wildlife Services in Idaho

Case: Wildlife Services in Idaho

USDA APHIS WILDLIFE SERVICES (“Wildlife Services”) spends millions of dollars and thousands of person-hours to kill thousands of wolves, coyotes, foxes, beavers, cougars, birds, and other wildlife species across Idaho each year, using aerial and ground shooting, poisons, traps, explosives, and other methods. Yet, Wildlife Services has never prepared an Environmental Impact Statement for its…

Midas Gold Followup Case
Status: PENDING

Midas Gold Followup Case

Case: New Case Pending

January 7th, 2015 – For the third time now, the Forest Service has issued a Draft Environmental Assessment (EA) and proposes to approve Midas Gold’s three-year exploration plan at Idaho’s historic Stibnite mining site. Twice – in response to our pressure – the Forest Service has withdrawn EAs for Midas’s exploration, citing the need for…

Idaho Water Quality: Fish Consumption Rate
Status: SETTLED

Idaho Water Quality: Fish Consumption Rate

Case: Notice of Intent to Sue

Advocates for the West secured a settlement for the Idaho Conservation League in this Clean Water Act action against EPA. The settlement ensures that inadequate water quality standards in Idaho will be revised to better protect people from exposure to dangerous toxins.In 2006, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ) adopted a new “fish consumption rate”, which estimated…

Protecting Idaho’s Bighorn Sheep
Status: WON

Protecting Idaho’s Bighorn Sheep

Case: IWGA et al V. Tom Vilsack et al & TWS et al

On March 17th, 2014, Advocates for the West’s Senior Attorney Laurie Rule appeared in court as an intervenor on behalf of the US Forest Service. We backed the agency’s decision to restrict domestic sheep grazing on much of the Payette National Forest due to the likelihood of domestic and bighorn interaction. Such interactions lead to bighorn contracting a fatal disease from…

Gunnison sage-grouse more than “threatened”
Status: PENDING

Gunnison sage-grouse more than “threatened”

Case: Gunnison sage-grouse

In 2014, Advocates for the West filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for backtracking on the agency’s previous proposal to list Gunnison sage-grouse as “endangered.” The Gunnison sage-grouse is found in seven populations scattered across SW Colorado and SE Utah. The bird is a separate species related…

Idaho Predator Hunt Derby
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Idaho Predator Hunt Derby

Case: Idaho Predator Derby

On November 13, 2014, Advocates for the West filed a complaint against the Bureau of Land Management challenging the authorization of the “Idaho Predator Hunt Derby” on public lands surrounding the town of Salmon, Idaho.  This case is ongoing, however, the BLM rescinded the permit on over 3 million acres of land after initially granting a 5-year…

Salmon-Challis Water Diversions
Status: SETTLED

Salmon-Challis Water Diversions

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service et al., Case No. 1:14-cv-00216-EJL (D.Idaho 2014).

Advocates for the West is pleased to announce we settled this case against the Forest Service and NOAA Fisheries for failing to complete Endangered Species Act consultations for over 100 water diversions on streams in the Salmon-Challis National Forest in Idaho’s Upper Salmon River basin.  The Salmon-Challis National Forest is home to important populations of threatened…

Great Basin sage-grouse
Status: WON
September 29, 2014

Great Basin sage-grouse

Case: WWP v. Kempthorne, No. 08-cv-435-BLW (D. Idaho)

This large case challenges several hundred grazing permits, oil and gas leases, and other land management decisions approved by BLM during the last years of the Bush Administration, which individually and together harm the Great Basin core population of greater sage-grouse in Idaho and Nevada. BLM violated basic federal environmental laws — including the National Environmental Policy…

Oregon Spotted Frog on Antelope Allotment
Status: WON
January 24, 2017

Oregon Spotted Frog on Antelope Allotment

Case: Concerned Friends of the Winema et al vs. US Forest Service

In May 2014, in a followup case to our 2010 victory protecting the Oregon spotted frog and unique sensitive plants, Advocates for the West filed suit against the US Forest Service.  We challenged livestock grazing activities on the Antelope Allotment of the Fremont-Winema National Forest that directly trample and degrade frog habitat and sensitive plants.  This allotment…

Midas Gold Mining Exploration
Status: WON
June 23, 2014

Midas Gold Mining Exploration

Case: ICL v. USFS/NOAA/FWS

Advocates for the West Staff Attorney Bryan Hurlbutt represents the Idaho Conservation League (ICL) in this case with the Nez Perce Tribe, challenging the Forest Service’s, NOAA’s, and FWS’s approval of Midas Gold’s “Golden Meadows” mining exploration project. Midas Gold plans to construct drill pads and drill 178 holes to explore for gold on the Payette…