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.

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…

Selkirk Woodland Caribou
Status: WON
February 26, 2007

Selkirk Woodland Caribou

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

Dec. 13, 2021 – Advocates for the West won a ruling  upholding a ban on the use of snowmobiles in certain high-elevation areas of the Idaho Panhandle National Forest that provide important habitat for the endangered southern mountain caribou. Southern mountain caribou are among the most critically endangered mammals in the lower 48 states. They…

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…

Rio Grande silvery minnow
Status: WON
November 1, 2005

Rio Grande silvery minnow

Case: Rio Grande Silvery Minnows v. Keys, No. 99-cv-1320-JP (D.N.M.)

We represent a coalition of national and state groups — including Wild Earth Guardians, National Audubon Society, Sierra Club, and New Mexico Audubon — in this long-standing litigation over the impacts of the federal Middle Rio Grande water project on the endangered Rio Grande silvery minnow. Once abundant throughout the Rio Grande, the silvery minnow is now…

Whiskey South timber sale
Status: WON
April 29, 2005

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
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…

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…

Squaw Valley/Spanish Ranch
Status: WON
November 10, 2004

Squaw Valley/Spanish Ranch

Case: WWP v. BLM, Dept. of Interior OHA No. NV-10-2004-01 & 02

This administrative appeal before the Office of Hearings and Appeals in the Department of Interior challenged BLM’s authorization of grazing on the Squaw Valley and Spanish Ranch allotments of northern Nevada, where Barrick Goldstrike — a major gold mining company — has purchased several ranches and is running livestock on them. Following an evidentiary hearing, the…