HOW the WEST is WON NOW

The groundwork has been laid. Many wild spaces in the West remain rugged, varied, and open—largely because they have been designated to stay that way by presidential and congressional decree. A vast network of public lands stretch across the West, protected for posterity in theory, but not always in practice.

Managed by the BLM, Forest Service, Fish & Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and other agencies, the federal government oversees hundreds of millions of acres of land—and the air, water and wildlife they hold—in the West.

Too often today, the untamed forces acting in our public lands are not wild in nature. The designated governmental protectors of these places too often allow grazing, mining, and other destructive practices by corporations and industries to pollute, damage, and destroy. We step in early to stop these entities.

Advocates for the West is the legal voice that speaks up when the environment calls for it. We partner pro bono with conservation nonprofits and groups to help enforce the bedrock environmental statutes now in place to protect our public lands.

We win or favorably settle over 85% of our cases. When we do, it’s a win-win for every conservation group in the West.

We wield law and science to stand our ground. Nowadays, it’s how the West is won.

Support AW

Soldier Meadows
Status: WON

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…

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…

Sawtooth Wolves
Status: WON

Sawtooth Wolves

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

Sawtooth North Sheep Allotments
Status: WON

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…

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…

Whiskey South timber sale
Status: WON

Whiskey South timber sale

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. Bennett, 04-cv-447-MHW (D. Idaho)

BLM proposed to log over 12 million board feet of old growth forests in the South Fork Clearwater basin of central Idaho, asserting that risks of beetle infestation and wildfire required the logging.  After a week long trial where we called several expert witnesses to show those arguments were not accurate, the federal court enjoined the logging…

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…

Selkirk Woodland Caribou
Status: WON

Selkirk Woodland Caribou

Case: Defenders of Wildlife et al v. Martin et al, No. 05-cv-248-RHW (E.D. Wash)

Mountain caribou are found in the US only in the Selkirk Mountains of northern Idaho and Washington, and are among the most critically endangered mammals in the lower 48 states.  The caribou feed on lichen in old growth forests to survive the winter, and are easily startled by motorized vehicles — which displace them from their…

Washington State Lands
Status: WON

Washington State Lands

Case: Dr. Steve Herman & WWP v. WDFW, No. 08-2-00276-1, Thurston County Sup. Ct

Three rounds of state court litigation challenging Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife’s agreement with ranchers to open state wildlife refuges to livestock grazing, various grazing leases given by WDFW on state wildlife refuges, and an EIS which opened up the Whiskey Dick Wildlife Area to grazing.  These include areas vital to the last remaining sage-grouse populations…

Bighorn Sheep — Hells Canyon and Salmon River
Status: WON

Bighorn Sheep — Hells Canyon and Salmon River

Case: WWP v. US Forest Service, 07-cv-151-BLW (D. Idaho).

We brought this case in March 2007 to prevent the Forest Service from authorizing domestic sheep grazing in allotments on Payette and Nez Perce National Forests that pose a “high risk” of spreading diseases that kill Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep, which are native to the Hells Canyon and Salmon River region of central Idaho.  Our…