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.

Pleasantview allotment
Status: SETTLED

Pleasantview allotment

Case: ICL & WWP v. Steele, No. 01-cv-529 (D. Idaho)

The Pleasantview allotment covers 70,000 acres of mostly public lands near Malad City, in southeast Idaho.  It offers habitat for greater sage-grouse, Columbia sharp-tail grouse, and other imperiled species; yet BLM has allowed excessive livestock grazing to badly damage the uplands and stream bottoms.  Weeds and alien species are spreading, aided by livestock overgrazing of native…

Kemmerer sheep grazing
Status: WON
August 15, 2008

Kemmerer sheep grazing

Case: WWP v. BLM & Broadbent Grazing Assoc., WY 090-2007-15 (DOI OHA)

The Granger and Carter Lease allotments encompass 720,000 acres of prime sage grouse habitat in BLM’s Kemmerer Field Office of southwestern Wyoming. BLM previously approved oil and gas drilling on the Moxa Arch project here, which has already harmed the sage-grouse population.  And BLM is planning to expand the Moxa Arch field, which will further fragment the…

Bighorn National Forest Plan
Status: DISMISSED

Bighorn National Forest Plan

Case: WWP v. US Forest Service, No. 2:07-cv-323-CB (D. Wyoming)

The Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming has only a relic population of bighorn sheep, which die when they come into contact with domestic sheep grazing on the public lands.  Yet the Forest Service continues to authorize sheep grazing in bighorn habitat, and did not evaluate grazing alternatives to the status quo when it recently revised…

Soldier Meadows
Status: WON
July 2, 2009

Soldier Meadows

Case: Committee for the High Desert, WWP et al. v. Abbey, No. N-02-cv- (D. Nevada)

The 330,00-acre Soldier Meadows allotment lies adjacent to the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada; and includes parts of the recently-designated Black Rock wilderness and other new wilderness areas. Soldier Meadows also has numerous springs and streams occupied by endangered fish species, including the Lahontan cutthroat trout and desert dace. Yet BLM has allowed livestock grazing to…

Squaw Valley/Spanish Ranch
Status: WON
November 10, 2004

Squaw Valley/Spanish Ranch

Case: WWP v. BLM, Dept. of Interior OHA No. NV-10-2004-01 & 02

This administrative appeal before the Office of Hearings and Appeals in the Department of Interior challenged BLM’s authorization of grazing on the Squaw Valley and Spanish Ranch allotments of northern Nevada, where Barrick Goldstrike — a major gold mining company — has purchased several ranches and is running livestock on them. Following an evidentiary hearing, the…

Elko: multiple use decisions
Status: WON
March 1, 2008

Elko: multiple use decisions

Case: WWP v. Oke, No. N-03-cv-197 (D. Nevada)

BLM’s Elko field office approved three “multiple use decisions” (MUDs) authorizing grazing and fencing on 3 allotments in northern Nevada covering 1.5 million acres.  Despite the fact that this area is key sage grouse habitat and home to other imperiled species, BLM collected virtually no data on current conditions of these sensitive species populations or their habitats. …

Lemhi flood flows
Status: PENDING

Lemhi flood flows

Case: Snake River Basin Adjudication subcase 74-15051 et seq

We represent conservationist water right holders in the Snake River Basin Adjudication, who are objecting to 294 water right claims for “flood flows” (or “high flows”) by irrigators in the Lemhi River watershed. The Lemhi River and its tributaries are critical habitat for salmon, steelhead and bull trout; and the Lemhi River is historically dried…

Bully Creek grazing
Status: DISMISSED

Bully Creek grazing

Case: WWP & ONDA v. Massington, No. 01-cv-348 (D. Or); ONDA & WWP v. Interior, No. 07-cv-381 (D. Or)

Over several years we have brought various administrative appeals and court cases seeking to force BLM to protect sage-grouse, redband trout and other sensitive resources from livestock grazing damage in the Bully Creek area of eastern Oregon. BLM adopted and promised to follow an improved grazing regime after our initial 2001 lawsuit; but monitoring showed that objectives…

North Fork Malheur Grazing
Status: WON
May 13, 2008

North Fork Malheur Grazing

Case: ONDA & WWP v. Ryan, No. 08-cv-576 (D. Or)

This case challenges BLM’s recent decision to continue allowing excessive livestock grazing on 237,000 acres of public lands in the North Fork Malheur watershed of eastern Oregon. BLM admits that grazing has harmed sage grouse, fish, and native plants; but rather than address the cause of the problem, BLM proposes to construct dozens of miles of new…

Rio Grande silvery minnow
Status: WON
November 1, 2005

Rio Grande silvery minnow

Case: Rio Grande Silvery Minnows v. Keys, No. 99-cv-1320-JP (D.N.M.)

We represent a coalition of national and state groups — including Wild Earth Guardians, National Audubon Society, Sierra Club, and New Mexico Audubon — in this long-standing litigation over the impacts of the federal Middle Rio Grande water project on the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow. Once abundant throughout the Rio Grande, the silvery minnow is now…