Western Watersheds Project fights for fish, wildlife, and fiscal responsibility

Western Watersheds Project - Working to Protect and Restore Western Watersheds and Wildlife
Online Messenger #177

Western Watersheds Project wins in Oregon, Nevada, and Idaho and Continues our Push For Environmental & Fiscal Responsibility Throughout the West

~ Jon Marvel
Jon Marvel

Friends,

Western Watersheds Project, with the help of many of our allies in the conservation community, has been bringing much needed change to public lands and wildlife management throughout the west.

Recently, WWP’s efforts have resulted in a favorable settlement on a Nevada allotment that served as center-stage of the controversial Calico free-roaming horse roundup, an extended closure of cattle grazing on key fish and wildlife habitat on the Payette National Forest in Idaho, and protections for hundreds of miles of fish habitat on the Malheur National Forest in Oregon.

Also, WWP continues our push to insist that the federal government address the massive budget shortfall with its destructive public land grazing program in the west.

Payette National Forest Closure of Cattle Allotment in Key Wildlife Area

The Rapid River area near Riggins, Idaho provides some of the most important spawning waters in Idaho for chinook salmon, steelhead, and bull trout, all fish listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act.  This area also has critical winter habitat for mule deer, elk and bighorn sheep, and is also home to the rare mountain quail.  With its scenic backdrop of the Seven Devils Mountains and plentiful wildlife, the Rapid River also provides outstanding recreation and hunting.

A large cattle allotment of over 21,000 acres is located in the Payette and Nez Perce National Forests, the Fall Creek/Whitebird Allotment.  The Rapid River forms this allotment’s western boundary.  The Forest Service has documented ongoing degradation from livestock grazing, including to the springs and headwaters in this allotment, as well as problems with invasive weeds and unmaintained improvements.  Despite these documented problems, in 2009, the Payette National Forest New Meadows District Ranger approved continued livestock grazing, which WWP successfully appealed to Payette Forest Supervisor Suzanne Rainville.

The Payette National Forest has agreed with the permittee to a voluntary closure to cattle grazing on the Fall Creek/Whitebird Allotment for resource protection for at least 7 years.  WWP is pleased that the Payette and the permittee reached this voluntary agreement, which will remove livestock from these outstanding public lands, and promote improved habitat for fish and wildlife.

WWP and Partners Challenge Destructive Public Lands Grazing Subsidy

Today, Western Watersheds Project and partners Center for Biological Diversity, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Oregon Natural Desert Association, and Wildearth Guardians sued the Departments of Interior and Agriculture to compel them to respond to a 2005 rulemaking petition that seeks to increase the fee for livestock grazing across 258 million acres of federal public land.

Read the News Release

Read the Complaintpdf

Read the Grazing Fee Petitionpdf

WWP and Partners Win Protection for Steelhead trout on the Malheur National Forest

Western Watersheds Project, along with our partners at the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and the Center for Biological Diversity, have won litigation against the Malheur National Forest in Oregon in regard to livestock grazing on hundreds of miles of streams designated as critical habitat for Endangered Species Act listed ocean-run steelhead trout.

WWP was well represented in this litigation by Dave Becker and Mac Lacy of ONDA with help from Kristin Ruether of Advocates for the West.

Read the News Release

Read the Decisionpdf

Jon Marvel
Executive Director

Banner: Black Rock Area in Soldier Meadows, Nevada © Katie Fite, WWP 2010

Bighead CloverBig-head clover (Trifolium macrocephalum) © Katie Fite, WWP 2010

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Photos: Thanks to Katie Fite and Don & Joyce Clarke !

WWP Wins Favorable Settlement of Soldier Meadows Allotment, NW Nevada

The Soldier Meadows Allotment contains Bureau of Land Management public lands enjoyed by wildflower, wildlife, wilderness and free-roaming horse enthusiasts.

Livestock use of this public land allotment is largely responsible for the controversial ‘Calico Rounduppdf of free-roaming horses.

WWP is pleased to bring this victory to recreationists and non-consumptive users of all stripes, whose interests in these magnificent public lands are commonly diminished by public land ranching.

WWP was ably represented by Advocates for The West‘s attorney, Todd Tucci.

Read the Settlement Agreementpdf

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3 Responses to “Western Watersheds Project fights for fish, wildlife, and fiscal responsibility”

  1. Barb Rupers Says:

    Great news on several fronts. Thanks, Jon and others for all the hard work and commitment to these important issues.

    When is the Payette NF going to decide on the sheep allotments that imperil the native Salmon River bighorns?

    • Debra K Says:

      Barb, latest word is that the Payette is planning to issue its Final SEIS on Bighorn Viability in July 2010. That will decide their direction on domestic sheep allotments.

      They keep pushing back the expected decision date. Some of us are worried that the Payette might cave to political expediency, rather than the science that shows the domestic sheep need to go.

      The bighorn population in Hells Canyon and the Salmon River areas can’t wait much longer.

  2. Ralph Maughan Says:

    On bighorn sheep, thank god we don’t have to rely alone on the livestock-industry compromised organizations like FNAWS for their protection.


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