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.

North Idaho Coal & Oil Trains
Status: PENDING

North Idaho Coal & Oil Trains

Case: AFW & ICL challenge proposed coal & oil rail bridge in North Idaho

In August 2014, BNSF Railway announced its intention to build a second rail bridge across Lake Pend Oreille. The bridge would accommodate additional rail traffic carrying crude oil from the Bakken and coal from the Powder River Basin to refineries and ports in the Pacific Northwest. The nearly mile-long new bridge would be located east…

Owyhee Wilderness Trapping
Status: SETTLED

Owyhee Wilderness Trapping

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. BLM

Advocates for the West is challenging BLM’s decision to allow commercial trapping in the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness Areas.In 2009, Congress designated six wilderness areas and sixteen wild and scenic river segments in Owyhee County in Southwest Idaho. Though close to Boise, the rugged river canyons and vast desert of the Owyhee Canyonlands offer unique opportunities for…

Oregon Bull Trout Habitat Protection
Status: DISMISSED

Oregon Bull Trout Habitat Protection

Case: Oregon Wild, Friends of Living Oregon Waters, Western Watersheds Project v. US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service

On May 26th, 2015, Advocates for the West’s Senior Attorney Laurie Rule partnered with David H. Becker to file a complaint on behalf of clients Oregon Wild, Friends of Living Oregon Waters and Western Watersheds Project in the U.S. District Court in Medford, Oregon over illegal grazing in the Fremont and Winema National Forest. The court…

Golden Hand Mining Exploration
Status: WON
August 2, 2016

Golden Hand Mining Exploration

Case: Idaho Conservation League et al vs. Lannom, Keith B., Payette National Forest Service Supervisor, and U.S. Forest Service

Advocates for the West is challenging a mining company’s plan to deploy bulldozers, dump trucks, and drill rigs inside the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The Forest Service released a Draft Record of Decision in December 2014 approving a proposal by American Independence Mines and Minerals (AIMMCO) to perform the industrial-scale mining claim validation work…

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…