Statement of the Case
1. This action challenges a December 21, 2009 decision and associated Final Environmental Impact Statement (“FEIS”) by Defendant Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (“WDFW”), approving a plan to vastly increase commercial livestock grazing within the Whiskey Dick and Quilomene Wildlife Areas in Kittitas County. The decision would open up over 28,000 acres of publicly-owned Wildlife Area land to livestock grazing, as well as building miles of barbed-wire fencing and developing numerous springs for livestock use.
2. The FEIS prepared to support this major policy change of increasing grazing levels on publicly owned wildlife lands failed to take a hard look at the effects that significantly increased grazing will have on many natural resource values. In particular, the FEIS failed to take a hard look at the impacts on the survival and recovery of the sage grouse, a critically imperiled bird listed as threatened by Washington state and a Candidate specie —designated as “warranted but precluded”—under the federal Endangered Species Act. In particular, the FEIS failed to account for scientific information showing the likely negative impacts of the proposed increased grazing and infrastructure on Washington’s sage grouse, or provide meaningful mitigation for the negative impacts.
3. The FEIS similarly failed to account for or mitigate the negative impacts of substantially increased grazing on a number of other rare and threatened animal and plant species that are dependent on habitat in the Wildlife Areas for their continued existence in Washington State. The FEIS similarly failed to account for or mitigate the negative impacts of substantially increased grazing on wetlands, riparian habitat, and water quality.
4. WWP seeks declaratory relief pursuant to RCW Ch. 7.24; judicial review and reversal pursuant to the Washington Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), RCW Ch. 34.05; and/or issuance of a writ of review pursuant to the inherent power of the judiciary under Art. IV, Sec. 6 of the Washington Constitution, holding that WDFW acted unlawfully in approving the FEIS for the Wildlife Areas, and prohibiting WDFW from allowing an increase in acres grazed on its lands pursuant to that FEIS.