WWP Files Suit to Protect the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument in Montana

Introduction

1. Plaintiffs, Western Watersheds Project, along with their members Glenn Monahan and Nancy Schultz, collectively referred to hereinafter as “WWP”, bring this civil action for declaratory and injunctive relief against the above named Defendants (hereinafter, “BLM”) pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), for violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WSRA), the Federal Land Management Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), and Presidential Proclamation 7398 (January 17, 2001), establishing the Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument (the Proclamation).

2. The Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument (Monument) is a national treasure that contains a spectacular array of biological, geological, and historical objects of interests.

3. The Monument includes the 149 mile Upper Missouri National Wild and Scenic River (UMNWSR) and adjacent breaks country, six Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs), the Cow Creek area of critical environmental concern, some of the largest and most viable elk and big horn sheep herds in the United States, essential winter range for sage grouse, segments of the Lewis and Clark and Nez Perce National Historic Trails, important spawning habitat for the endangered pallid sturgeon, numerous archeological and historic sites, and some of the wildest country in the Great Plains.

4. Today, the area included within the Monument remains largely intact and unchanged since Lewis and Clark first traveled through it on their epic journey in 1805.

5. This civil action arises out of the BLM’s December, 2008 Record of Decision (ROD) adopting a new Resource Management Plan (RMP) for the Monument, as well as the Decision Notice (DN) issued by the Lewistown Field Manager renewing the grazing permit for the Woodhawk Allotment, which is the first site-specific decision implementing grazing pursuant to the RMP.

6. Specifically, WWP challenges the decision by BLM to exclude grazing impacts from the RMP based upon a finding that livestock grazing within sensitive riparian areas and cottonwood galleries is not a “significant issue” requiring detailed analysis in the RMP Environmental Impact Study (EIS).

7. The Woodhawk DN was issued pursuant to an Environmental Assessment (EA) that is tiered to the RMP, and thus re-affirms the BLM’s decision that livestock grazing is not a significant issue in managing the Monument.

Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief
News Release 11/23/09

 

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