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WWP Win on Sonoran Desert National Monument Grazing Case!

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Western Watersheds Project, the Sierra Club, and Advocates for the West have prevailed in our legal claims against the Bureau of Land Management in its illegal determination regarding livestock grazing on the Sonoran Desert National Monument!

The legal opinion finds flaws in the BLM’s methods of setting desired plant community objectives, determining livestock impacts to saguaros, “cherry-picking” which years of data to use, and excluding certain data from its analysis. In doing so, the BLM ultimately skewed the analysis of grazing impacts in favor of continued grazing over portions of the monument.

Although the ruling will protect the Sonoran Desert, it isn’t a complete win. The judge found no fault with the BLM’s collection of utilization data in years that no livestock were authorized, reclassification of “unsurveyed” areas to “light use,” and monitoring methods that diminished evidence of grazing harms.

But, the judge did find that the BLM did not adequately explain large changes in its land health objectives, and the ruling finds that the basis of the Resource Management Plan is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with the law.”

A copy of the court opinion can be found here and more background on the case is available here.

press release was also sent out this morning.

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