WATER in the WEST

In the West, water is a scarce and precious resource. It’s what we drink. It’s what entire ecosystems rely upon to thrive.

Now more than ever, our water is on the line. This limited public resource is so often thoughtlessly misused, mismanaged, and laid waste by corporate interests.

Our water-focused cases employ the Clean Water Act, the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, other environmental laws, and basic common sense to stop pollution, protect streams and watersheds, and improve water quality, bar none.

Salmon River Suction Dredging
Status: PENDING

Salmon River Suction Dredging

Case: n/a

Launching Case to Protect the Salmon River from Suction Dredging On May 8, 2017, Advocates for the West sent a notice of intent to sue to a suction dredge miner for discharging sediment and other pollutants in Idaho’s Salmon River without a Clean Water Act permit. What Is Suction Dredging?   A suction dredge uses a high pressure, gasoline…

Arsenic water quality standards
Status: SETTLED

Arsenic water quality standards

Case: ICL v. EPA, July 2008 notice letter

Otter Creek Diversion Challenge
Status: WON

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 — 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

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

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…

Meadow Creek ORVs
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Meadow Creek ORVs

Case: The Wilderness Society and Idaho Conservation League v. Forest Service, No. 08-cv-236-BLW (D. Idaho)

Meadow Creek is a major tributary to the Selway River in central Idaho which is a candidate Wild and Scenic river; and it offers some of the best habitat anywhere for endangered salmon, steelhead and bull trout.  The Idaho conservation community has long fought to protect Meadow Creek from logging, roads, and other human impacts. Working…

ITD Motor Waste Wells
Status: PENDING

ITD Motor Waste Wells

Case: Case #1:17-cv-00081-REB

November 10, 2016 – Advocates for the West notified the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) of our intent to sue for owning and operating illegal motor vehicle waste disposal wells in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Long ago, vehicle service shops disposed of oils, solvents, and other dangerous substances by simply injecting into the…