Big Western Watersheds Project victory on Slickspot Peppergrass

There have been a lot of posts here on the failure to protect and add the beautiful range plant, slickspot peppergrass to the endangered species list.

Once again, the federal courts have told the Administration to get off its butt. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was ordered by Idaho federal judicial district to reconsider its decision not to list slickspot peppergrass as an endangered species.

Judge: Feds must reconsider protecting Idaho plant. By Rebecca Boone. Associated Press Writer.

Legal counsel for WWP was Advocates for the West, Todd Tucci, senior staff attorney.



  1. Alan Gregory Avatar

    I saw a patch of this plant in 75 between Wendell and Bliss. Probably long gone from there and a lot of other spots. Sigh.

  2. Brian Ertz Avatar

    “In 2005, the federal court found that Slickspot was at the precipice of extinction, and since 2005 the population has further crashed,” Tucci said. “All the Idaho cattlemen can kick and scream all they want, but the moment this listing decision is informed by science, this species will obtain the protection it deserves under the Endangered Species Act.”

    Todd Tucci gave phenomenal oral arguments demonstrating the extent of the corruption in the decision not to list Slickspot peppergrass by showing that the FWS made a practice of “filtering science through politics”

  3. kt Avatar

    The moment these welfare ranchers have to deal seriously with science and the real world, and the Idaho mafia (Craig, Crapo, Kempthorne, Caswell) power in DC wanes here in less than a few months – they are done for.

    At the Court Hearing, the state of Idaho’s Attorney (the state was an Intervenor here too -just like with the Wolf de-listing case), after starting out with the statement “Governor Otter is VERY CONCERNED about this”. NOT about the continued existence of the endemic plant, mind you – but about the discomfort its listing might cause Otter’s rancher buddies. Then the Attorney proceeded to bad mouth the decade of careful work that had been done at the IDAHO NATIONAL GUARD Orchard Training Area (OTA in the decision) to understand the biology of slickspot peppergrass. This research showed how the plant was wiped out of slickspots that were heavily trampled by cattle. Anyway, at one point the WWP Attorney said almost as an aside “I understand there’s character assassination going on here “…. The character assassination was focused on those who dared to use science to understand in detail how grazing was wiping out this species.

    Idaho’s Attorney freely trashed the IDAHO Guard’s efforts – all for the sake of a few welfare rancher Good Old Boys.

    How much state time and money has Butch squandered for these fellows so they can completely wipe out this plant— then they won’t be bothered with it? Kinda like the wolves. Who really runs Idaho? The Farm Bureau … right out of Butch’s office.

    It’s great to hear you’ve seen the plant, Alan!


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan