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.

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…

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…

Soldier Meadows
Status: WON
July 2, 2009

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…

Jarbidge Sage-Grouse
Status: WON
February 1, 2009

Jarbidge Sage-Grouse

Case: WWP v. Dyer, 04-cv-181-BLW (D. Idaho)

This long-standing litigation challenges BLM’s mismanagement of grazing in the Jarbidge Resource Area of southern Idaho, which has harmed sage-grouse, pygmy rabbits, and other sensitive sagebrush-obligate species and their habitats. Our first court victory, in 2004, held that BLM violated NEPA in approving “temporary” grazing increases sought by Simplot Co. and other major corporate ranchers….

Washington State Lands
Status: WON
January 1, 2009

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…

Meadow Creek ORVs
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED
September 1, 2008

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…

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…

North Fork Malheur Grazing
Status: WON
May 13, 2008

North Fork Malheur Grazing

Case: ONDA & WWP v. Ryan, No. 08-cv-576 (D. Or)

This case challenges BLM’s recent decision to continue allowing excessive livestock grazing on 237,000 acres of public lands in the North Fork Malheur watershed of eastern Oregon. BLM admits that grazing has harmed sage grouse, fish, and native plants; but rather than address the cause of the problem, BLM proposes to construct dozens of miles of new…

Elko: multiple use decisions
Status: WON
March 1, 2008

Elko: multiple use decisions

Case: WWP v. Oke, No. N-03-cv-197 (D. Nevada)

BLM’s Elko field office approved three “multiple use decisions” (MUDs) authorizing grazing and fencing on 3 allotments in northern Nevada covering 1.5 million acres.  Despite the fact that this area is key sage grouse habitat and home to other imperiled species, BLM collected virtually no data on current conditions of these sensitive species populations or their habitats. …

Sage-Grouse ESA Listing
Status: WON
December 1, 2007

Sage-Grouse ESA Listing

Case: WWP v. US Fish and Wildlife Service, 06-cv-277-BLW (D. Idaho).

Greater sage-grouse are an “umbrella” species for the sagebrush ecosystem, that once covered 155 million acres of western US and Canada. Sage-grouse populations have declined steeply as sagebrush has been destroyed and fragmented by agricultural conversions, livestock grazing, energy development, weed invasions, and other impacts. This case challenged a January 2005 determination by U.S. Fish…