HOW the WEST is WON

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 in theory—but not always in practice.

Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, 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.

But too often, the very agencies designated to protect the West’s natural treasures allow grazing, mining, energy development and other destructive practices to pollute, damage, and destroy. We step in to hold these agencies accountable to law and science.

Advocates for the West is the legal voice that speaks up when the environment calls for it. We partner pro bono with conservation 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 advances the endeavors of every conservation group in the West.

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

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area Grazing
Status: SETTLED
August 1, 2022

San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area Grazing

Case: Case 4:20-cv-00149-JGZ

August 1, 2022 — Advocates for the West filed a settlement agreement sending the Bureau of Land Management back to its planning desk to reconsider the impacts of livestock grazing on the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area. The settlement compels the Bureau to reconsider the compatibility of grazing authorizations on four allotments within the…

Challenging Wildlife Killing Program in Idaho
Status: SETTLED
June 30, 2022

Challenging Wildlife Killing Program in Idaho

Case: Case 1:20-cv-00213-DCN

June 24, 2022 — Advocates for the West and our partners filed a settlement agreement in federal court that will help protect Idaho’s native carnivores through a number of measures. The settlement gives Wildlife Services until the end of 2024 to complete a new environmental review of its activities on federal lands, and mandates that…

Logging in the Salmon-Clearwater Divide
Status: WON
June 24, 2022

Logging in the Salmon-Clearwater Divide

Case: Case 3:21-cv-00189-CWD

June 24, 2022 — Advocates for the West won a major victory halting the “End of the World” and “Hungry Ridge” projects. In the decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho agreed that the Forest Service failed to ensure required minimum amounts of old growth will be protected from logging. The Court…

Willamette River Wild Fish
Status: WON
September 1, 2021

Willamette River Wild Fish

Case: NEDC et al V. US Army Corps of Engineers and National Marine Fisheries Service

September 1, 2021 – U.S. District Judge Marco Hernandez issued a final opinion and order directing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Marine Fisheries Service to immediately undertake new measures at dams in the Willamette basin to prevent the extinction of threatened Upper Willamette River wild spring Chinook salmon and winter steelhead. In…

Hells Canyon Complex Water Quality
Status: SETTLED
August 31, 2021

Hells Canyon Complex Water Quality

Case: Petition for Judicial Review

August 31, 2021 – The Nez Perce Tribe reached a settlement agreement with the state of Oregon resolving a case that Advocates for the West filed—along with the Tribe’s Office of Legal Counsel—challenging the state of Oregon’s Clean Water Act section 401 water quality certification for the relicensing of the Hells Canyon Complex. The Hells Canyon Complex, owned…

Willamette Basin ESA Violations
Status: WON
July 15, 2021

Willamette Basin ESA Violations

Case: Case 3:20-cv-00413

July 15, 2021 – Advocates for the West received a strong ruling in our favor when the court issued a draft order outlining the actions that the Army Corps must immediately take to protect threatened salmon and steelhead in the Willamette River. Judge Hernandez made clear he “has no patience for further delay or obfuscation in this…

Suction Dredge Clean Water Act Enforcement
Status: WON
June 4, 2021

Suction Dredge Clean Water Act Enforcement

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. Shannon Poe, No. 1:18-cv-353-REB (D. Idaho)

February 4, 2022 —In our long-running Clean Water Act case for the Idaho Conservation League against suction dredge miner Shannon Poe, Advocates for the West filed a brief asking the court to order Poe to pay $564,924 in penalties for his unpermitted gold mining on the South Fork Clearwater River. Additionally, it asks the Court…

Sheep Experiment Station Followup Case
Status: WON
April 16, 2021

Sheep Experiment Station Followup Case

Case: Case 1:19-cv-00065-REB

April 16, 2021 — A federal ruled in favor of Advocates for the West and against the reauthorization and expansion of domestic sheep grazing in and around the US Sheep Experiment Station in Idaho’s Centennial Mountains on the Idaho-Montana border. With this decision, the Sheep Station is not permitted to graze sheep on the summer pastures…

Air Force Urban Warfare Training
Status: WON
October 1, 2020

Air Force Urban Warfare Training

Case: Case 1:19-cv-00103-CWD

October 1, 2020 — The court ruled a sweeping victory for Advocates for the West in our case challenging Air Force urban military training exercises over Boise and other parts of Southern Idaho. March 27, 2020 — Advocates for the West filed our reply brief in this case, as well as our opposition to the Air Force’s…

Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead
Status: WON
August 17, 2020

Willamette River Salmon and Steelhead

Case: 3:18-cv-00437-JR

December 18, 2020 – Advocates for the West filed our reply brief and two expert declarations in the continued remedial phase of this case. With the Army Corps of Engineers’ long history neglecting its duties under the Endangered Species Act, we argue that the Court should defer to outside fisheries experts who prioritize the needs of…