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.

Sonoran National Monument grazing
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Sonoran National Monument grazing

Case: WWP v. BLM, No. 08-cv-1472-MHM (D. Az.)

President Clinton designated the 500,000-acre Sonoran Desert National Monument in 2001 to protect its outstanding wildlife, plant and other natural resources.  The Monument proclamation ordered BLM to halt livestock grazing on part of the Monument, and to study whether grazing would be compatible with the Monument purposes on the remainder.   Yet eight years later, BLM still has not made that compatability…

Pygmy rabbit listing
Status: DISMISSED

Pygmy rabbit listing

Case: WWP et al v. Kempthorne, No. 06-cv-127-EJL (D. Idaho)

ESA listing case, challenging US Fish and Wildlife Service’s “90-day finding” rejecting WWP’s listing petition for pygmy rabbit — the word’s tiniest bunny. Pygmy rabbits dig burrows under sagebrush; climb up in sagebrush to scout and feed; and otherwise depend on sagebrush throughout their lives.  Loss and degradation of sagebrush habitats across the range of pygmy rabbits (including Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and…

Otter Creek Diversion Challenge
Status: WON
November 21, 2002

Otter Creek Diversion Challenge

Case: IWP v. Jones, 00-cv-730-BLW (D. Idaho)

Endangered Species Act citizen suit against Verl and Tuddie Jones for unlawful “take” of threatened bull trout through operation of their unscreened diversion on Otter Creek, located on Salmon Challis National Forest public lands. We won an injunction prohibiting further diversions until the irrigator obtained a special use permit from US Forest Service, and it conducted ESA consultation…

Herd Creek diversion
Status: SETTLED

Herd Creek diversion

Case: IWP v. Bennetts, 00-cv-729 (D. Idaho)

Endangered Species Act citizen suit against Jim Bennetts for unlawful “take” of threatened salmon, steelhead, and bull trout associated with his unscreened public lands diversions on Herd Creek and Lake Creek (East Fork Salmon River watershed), and because of livestock damage to critical habitat on his base property. After we filed for summary judgment supported by several…

Mahogany Creek diversion
Status: SETTLED

Mahogany Creek diversion

Case: IWP v. Whitworth, oo-cv-728 (D. Idaho)

Endangered Species Act citizen suit against Judd Whitworth and Sulphur Creek Livestock for unlawful “take” of threatened bull trout through operation of unscreened public lands diversion on Mahogany Creek, tributary to upper Pahsimeroi River. Our experts showed that the Mahogany Creek diversion would likely “take” bull trout through entrainment into the unscreened ditch, which continued…

Sawtooth Wolves
Status: WON
June 13, 2002

Sawtooth Wolves

Case: WWP & ICL v. Sawtooth National Forest, 01-cv-389-BLW (D. Idaho)

Sawtooth North Sheep Allotments
Status: WON
February 7, 2006

Sawtooth North Sheep Allotments

Case: WWP & Dr. Randall Hermann v. US Forest Service, 05-cv-189 (D. Idaho)

In response to our victory in the SNRA wolves case, Forest Service prepared an EIS for new grazing management on North Sheep, Smiley Creek, and other allotments in the Sawtooth National Forest of central Idaho, which are home to wolves, bighorn sheep, and endangered salmon and other fish.  These allotments are grazed by domestic sheep, which…

Sawtooth — North Sheep 2009
Status: DISMISSED

Sawtooth — North Sheep 2009

Case: WWP v. Forest Service, 05-cv-189 (D. Idaho)

Opening summary judgment brief filed June 25, 2010 in the Sawtooth–North Sheep case alleges that the Forest Service failed to take a “hard look” at sheep grazing impacts on several Sawtooth National Forest allotments, particularly on sensitive wildlife including fish and sage grouse.  Even though we won a prior court order requiring analysis of grazing…

Clearwater Old Growth
Status: WON
April 1, 2005

Clearwater Old Growth

Case: The Wilderness Society et al v. Bosworth, 118 F. Supp. 2d 1082 (D. Mont. 2000)

Representing a broad coalition of national, state and local conservation groups, we brought this case in 1997 to stop Forest Service plans to log old growth forests in the Clearwater region of central Idaho — including the headwaters of the Lochsa and North Fork Clearwater rivers.   The case focused on how logging and logging roads…

Status: WON
April 28, 2005

Clearwater — Lolo Creek Timber Sales

Case:

We won an injunction in 2004 preventing the Clearwater National Forest from proceeding with two adjoining timber sales in the Lolo Creek watershed of central Idaho, to protect habitat of imperilled fish — including salmon, steelhead, and bull trout. Even though the Forest Service developed the two sales — called “White/White” and “Brick/Trout” — at the…