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Forest Service Must Protect Oregon Spotted Frog!

Online Messenger #276

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Back in 2011, the Oregon District Court ruled that the Fremont-Winema National Forest had violated federal law and not done the proper analysis of the impacts of livestock grazing on the sensitive species of the Antelope Cattle and Horse Allotment. Despite this ruling, the Forest has authorized unchanged and unanalyzed grazing every year since, at the peril of species like the rare Oregon spotted frog.

Not this year. Not if we can help it.

Last week, on behalf of plaintiffs Western Watersheds Project, Concerned Friends of the Winema, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Oregon Wild, and the Center for Biological Diversity, Advocates for the West filed a motion for preliminary injunction against 2014 grazing on the Antelope allotment. Ongoing drought conditions stress the one-of-a-kind fens and wetlands found in the Chemult Pasture, and livestock trampling further degrades these sensitive and irreplaceable ecosystems.

The Forest Service’s own botanist said, “I can only recommend, with the greatest sense of urgency, that the [Fremont-Winema] embrace the concept that livestock grazing may simply be an indefensible management activity within these [groundwater ecosystems].” Emphasis added.

Western Watersheds Project and our co-plaintiffs will ask the court to expedite the Forest Service’s “embrace” and cease grazing this year.

Thanks due to Laurie Rule and Liv Brumfield for the outstanding brief, which can be found online here.

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