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.

In Defense of Animals and Craig Downer v. BLM
Status: DISMISSED

In Defense of Animals and Craig Downer v. BLM

Case: In Defense of Animals & Craig Downer v. BLM

This case challenges a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) decision to roundup and remove nearly all of the wild free-roaming horses within three horse areas in northeastern Nevada. BLM claims that it needs to remove these horses because they are overgrazing the public lands, although BLM’s own documents show that cows – and not wild…

Greenfire Grazing Permit
Status: WON
June 11, 2010

Greenfire Grazing Permit

Case: Valley Sun, LLC and WWP v. BLM

Advocates for the West represents Valley Sun, LLC and Western Watersheds Project on their challenge to a decision by BLM to cancel the Greenfire Preserve’s grazing permit due to reasons related to lack of grazing.  On June 11, 2010, an ALJ granted Valley Sun a stay of BLM’s cancellation decision, citing potential harm identified by expert…

Central Idaho wolves
Status: DISMISSED

Central Idaho wolves

Case: Wolf Recovery Foundation et al v. Forest Service

This case was initially brought for Wolf Recovery Foundation and Western Watershed Project to protect Central Idaho wolves from adverse effects of livestock grazing in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, where the Forest Service is supposed to protect all wildlife from “substantial impairment” due to grazing, but is not doing so.  These initial Plaintiffs also challenge USDA APHIS…

Pahsimeroi Endangered Fish
Status: WON
October 29, 2010

Pahsimeroi Endangered Fish

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. Rosenkrance, No. 09-cv-532 (D. Idaho)

The Pahsimeroi Valley contains key habitat for three species of Endangered Species Act-listed fish: bull trout, chinook salmon, and steelhead. Yet BLM and Forest Service have not conducted monitoring and habitat improvements as required by their own ESA consultation, which is now very outdated. Their failure to meet fish habitat requirements or to consult over…

Lemhi endangered fish
Status: SETTLED

Lemhi endangered fish

Case: WWP v. Wood et al., No. 09-cv-368 (D. Idaho)

This action challenges Forest Service and BLM violations of the Endangered Species Act in failing to carry out consulations with US Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries over impacts of livestock grazing, irrigation diversions, and other management actions upon salmon, steelhead and bull trout in the Lemhi River watershed of central Idaho. The Lemhi River…

Grouse, Meadow, Rock, Trail Creek grazing allotments
Status: WON
January 5, 2011

Grouse, Meadow, Rock, Trail Creek grazing allotments

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. Rosenkrance, No. 09-cv-298 (D. Idaho)

This case challenges BLM decisions allowing grazing and construction of numerous livestock watering troughs and fences in the Grouse Creek, Meadow Creek, Trail Creek, and Rock Creek allotments, located in the Pahsimeroi watershed of central Idaho. This area is prime sage-grouse habitat, and the Pahsimeroi River within the Rock Creek allotment is home to endangered bull…

Burnt Creek Grazing Allotment
Status: WON
July 1, 2010

Burnt Creek Grazing Allotment

Case: WWP v. Rosenkrance, No. 09-cv-365 (D. Idaho)

The Burnt Creek allotment is located in the Upper Pahsimeroi watershed, which is occupied by bull trout and sage grouse; and extends over much of the Burnt Creek Wilderness Study Area. Our prior litigation in 2002-03 forced BLM to close the allotment to grazing for 4 years, although repeated livestock “trespass” occurred during that time, continuing…

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…