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.

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  This case is ongoing, however, the BLM rescinded the permit on over 3 million acres of land after initially granting a 5-year…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…

Salmon River Navigability
Status: PENDING

Salmon River Navigability

Case: Salmon River Navigability challenge by Idaho Conservation League

In January 2014, Advocates for the West’s Staff Attorney Bryan Hurlbutt filed a petition on behalf of the Idaho Conservation League asking the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revisit its determination from the 1930′s that Idaho’s Salmon River is not navigable. Because of this flawed determination, the Salmon River and endangered fish species are not receiving important…

Wildlife Services FOIAs
Status: SETTLED

Wildlife Services FOIAs

Case: Wildlife Services FOIAs

Advocates for the West is helping our client Western Watersheds Project keep an eye on the notorious wildlife-killing agency, Wildlife Services. The agency kills thousands of animals around the West every year.  In 2012, the agency killed over 3,000 coyotes in Idaho alone. The methods used include cruel and dangerous ones, such as foot-hold traps,…

California BLM FOIA
Status: SETTLED

California BLM FOIA

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. BLM, et al.

This case challenges BLM’s failure to fully respond to several Freedom of Information Act requests that have been pending for over two and a half years.  Client Western Watersheds Project requested information through FOIA about the formulation of three California BLM Resource Management Plans, in important areas home to Greater sage-grouse. FOIA is a critical…

Cave Lake Sage-Grouse Habitat Protection
Status: DISMISSED

Cave Lake Sage-Grouse Habitat Protection

Case: WWP vs BLM – Cave Lake, NV

In a case led by Senior Attorney Todd Tucci, Advocates for the West filed a complaint on behalf of Western Watersheds Project to protect 145,000 acres of public lands in the Ely district of Nevada, which contains key sage-grouse habitat. This is a follow-up case to our broader, ongoing lawsuit challenging 16 BLM Resource Management Plans in Idaho, Nevada, Utah,…