On December 30, 2009 Western Watersheds Project won a major court victory overturning a BLM grazing decision for the Nickel Creek Allotment.
The Nickel Creek Allotment lies within the Owyhee River Watershed in far southwest Idaho and contains important sage grouse, bighorn sheep, redband trout, columbia spotted frog, and rare plants species' habitat.
However, the allotment has been severely abused by livestock grazing as shown in the Idaho Standards and Guidelines for Healthy Rangelands Assessments that determined the allotment failed all 8 Standards and that livestock grazing was the cause.
BLM managers response to the dire condition was to implement unenforceable "Management Guidelines", which amount to asking public land ranchers to voluntarily improve management, rather than requiring enforceable Terms and Conditions of grazing permits.
The court's Order confirmed WWP's legal claim that the BLM must include Mandatory Terms and Conditions.
This victory sets a clear standard that the BLM must protect public lands and wildlife habitat in every grazing permit issued by the agency.
WWP was very ably represented in this important litigation by Natalie Havlina of Advocates of the West. Thanks Natalie !