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WWP Moves to Protect Columbia River Bull Trout in Central Idaho!

Online Messenger #248

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Western Watersheds Project filed a Motion for Preliminary Injunction and accompanying Brief to stop illegal livestock grazing in Idaho’s Little Lost River watershed. WWP filed the initial Complaint in this litigation in April, but WWP’S immediate goal is to ensure that livestock grazing in 2013 does no harm while the case is heard in Federal District Court.

This interim protection is critically important for the isolated subpopulation of Columbia River bull trout clinging to existence in the Little Lost River watershed. Livestock grazing on the two Salmon-Challis National Forest allotments at issue, the Pass Creek and Mill Creek allotments, harms bull trout through trampling fish redds, disturbing and displacing juvenile fish and harasses adult fish during spawning. Livestock also cause habitat degradation through bank trampling and by removing streamside vegetation resulting in higher water temperatures and harm to the fish.

The Little Lost River watershed is essential for bull trout recovery and ongoing and unmanaged livestock grazing impacts are unacceptable.

The Forest Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service know that livestock grazing is putting bull trout in the Little Lost River watershed in imminent danger. Despite this, the Forest Service has failed to implement riparian protections and has not conducted necessary monitoring. In addition repeated livestock trespass and unauthorized use on the two allotments and tributary streams are ongoing and unchecked.

Western Watersheds Project expects a hearing to be scheduled on WWP’s Motion for a Preliminary Injunction within the next three weeks.

Many thanks are due for their excellent legal work in this case to WWP’s attorneys Laurie Rule and Kristin Ruether of Advocates for the West‘s Boise and Portland Offices.

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