A couple weeks ago I posted a news release from the Nez Perce Tribe how the Forest Service was not living up to their committment (mandated by an earlier court ruling) to keep domestic and bighorn sheep apart in Hells Canyon.

Now the Western Watersheds Project has gone to court. Here is their news release.

Western Watersheds Project Files Litigation To Protect Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep

On March 30, 2007 Western Watersheds Project filed a Complaint in federal District Court in Idaho against the Payette and Nez Perce National Forests for violations of their Forest Plans, the National Environmental Policy Act, the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area Act and the Administrative Procedures Act charging that the two Forests have failed to protect Bighorn Sheep from disease transmission from domestic sheep permitted to graze on the two Forests in locations that risk die-offs of hundreds of Bighorn Sheep because of direct contact between domestic sheep and bighorns. The case was assigned to Chief Judge B. Lynn Winmill.

On April 16, 2007 WWP was joined in the litigation by the Hells Canyon Preservation Council and The Wilderness Society through an amended complaint. Also filed on April 16 was a Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order and/or preliminary injunction to prevent the turn-out of domestic sheep on five grazing allotments (Smith Mountain, Curren Hill, Marshall Mountain, Bear Pete and French Creek) on the Payette National Forest and one grazing allotment (Allison-Berg) on the Nez Perce National Forest.

Since turn-out on the critical bighorn habitat on the Smiths Mountain allotment is scheduled for May 15, 2007, the court has set a court hearing on the Motion for injunctive relief for May 3, 2007. WWP and the other plaintiffs are very ably represented by lead attorney, Laurie Rule of Advocates For The West’s Boise Office. Also representing WWP and the other groups and supporting Laurie with their excellent work are attorneys Jennifer Schemm of La Grande, Oregon and Brett Brownscombe of Portland, Oregon.

For more information including all the filings in this important case please visit the WWP web site legal pages.

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

One Response to Western Watersheds Project files federal lawsuit to protect bighorn sheep in Hells Canyon.

  1. avatar Buffaloed says:

    I seem to recall hearing someone state “we would never let our diseased livestock intermingle with your wildlife” while testifying before congress about the buffalo issue. This is exactly what came to mind when they said it.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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