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.

East Boulder Creek Gold Mining
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

East Boulder Creek Gold Mining

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. U.S. Forest Service, Case No. 4:15-cv-284 (D. Idaho)

Advocates for the West is challenging the Forest Service’s decision to approve gold mining in the Napoleon Ridge Roadless Area on East Boulder Creek without studying the environmental impacts. East Boulder Creek is a tributary to the main Salmon River and is located approximately 11 miles west of North Fork, Idaho. On July 10, the…

Canyon of the Ancients Grazing
Status: WON

Canyon of the Ancients Grazing

Case: Canyon of the Ancients Grazing

On August 11th, 2015, Advocates for the West’s Staff Attorney Elizabeth Zultoski filed a protest against the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed decision to issue new 10-year grazing permits in Colorado’s famed Canyon of the Ancients National Monument. Canyon of the Ancients includes 170,965 acres in the Four Corners region of southwest Colorado and contains “the highest known density of archaeological sites in…

Status: SETTLED

Idaho state land grazing

Case: Lazy Y Ranch v. Wiggins, 06-cv-340-MHW (D. Idaho)

Executive Director Laird Lucas has brought a series of lawsuits against the Idaho State Land Board over the last decade, based on their refusal to award school land leases to conservationists seeking to pay more money to protect and restore the lands. The Idaho Supreme Court has issued several decisions, all holding that it violates…

Owyhee Wilderness Trapping
Status: SETTLED

Owyhee Wilderness Trapping

Case: Idaho Conservation League v. BLM

Advocates for the West is challenging BLM’s decision to allow commercial trapping in the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness Areas.In 2009, Congress designated six wilderness areas and sixteen wild and scenic river segments in Owyhee County in Southwest Idaho. Though close to Boise, the rugged river canyons and vast desert of the Owyhee Canyonlands offer unique opportunities for…

Wildlife Services in Idaho
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Wildlife Services in Idaho

Case: Wildlife Services in Idaho

USDA APHIS WILDLIFE SERVICES (“Wildlife Services”) spends millions of dollars and thousands of person-hours to kill thousands of wolves, coyotes, foxes, beavers, cougars, birds, and other wildlife species across Idaho each year, using aerial and ground shooting, poisons, traps, explosives, and other methods. Yet, Wildlife Services has never prepared an Environmental Impact Statement for its…

Protecting Idaho’s Bighorn Sheep
Status: WON

Protecting Idaho’s Bighorn Sheep

Case: IWGA et al V. Tom Vilsack et al & TWS et al

On March 17th, 2014, Advocates for the West’s Senior Attorney Laurie Rule appeared in court as an intervenor on behalf of the US Forest Service. We backed the agency’s decision to restrict domestic sheep grazing on much of the Payette National Forest due to the likelihood of domestic and bighorn interaction. Such interactions lead to bighorn contracting a fatal disease from…

Idaho Predator Hunt Derby
Status: FAVORABLY-DISMISSED

Idaho Predator Hunt Derby

Case: Idaho Predator Derby

On November 13, 2014, Advocates for the West filed a complaint against the Bureau of Land Management challenging the authorization of the “Idaho Predator Hunt Derby” on public lands surrounding the town of Salmon, Idaho.  This case is ongoing, however, the BLM rescinded the permit on over 3 million acres of land after initially granting a 5-year…

Wildlife Services FOIAs
Status: SETTLED

Wildlife Services FOIAs

Case: Wildlife Services FOIAs

Advocates for the West is helping our client Western Watersheds Project keep an eye on the notorious wildlife-killing agency, Wildlife Services. The agency kills thousands of animals around the West every year.  In 2012, the agency killed over 3,000 coyotes in Idaho alone. The methods used include cruel and dangerous ones, such as foot-hold traps,…

California BLM FOIA
Status: SETTLED

California BLM FOIA

Case: Western Watersheds Project v. BLM, et al.

This case challenges BLM’s failure to fully respond to several Freedom of Information Act requests that have been pending for over two and a half years.  Client Western Watersheds Project requested information through FOIA about the formulation of three California BLM Resource Management Plans, in important areas home to Greater sage-grouse. FOIA is a critical…

Camas Creek Fisheries
Status: SETTLED

Camas Creek Fisheries

Case: 4:12-cv-00197-BLW

Advocates for the West, representing Western Watersheds Project, filed this suit to protect the wild salmonids of Camas Creek. Those who have rafted the Middle Fork Salmon River know that Camas Creek is a beautiful tributary of that river, flows in large part within the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, and is home to…