Federal Judge Orders Stay On BLM Plan to Increase Cattle Grazing on Sage Grouse, Pygmy Rabbit, and Bighorn Sheep Habitat

Federal Judge Orders Stay On BLM Plan to Increase Cattle Grazing on Sage Grouse, Pygmy Rabbit, and Bighorn Sheep Habitat

For immediate release – November 23, 2009
Contact: Michael J. Connor, Tel. (818) 345-0425
Email: mjconnor@westernwatersheds.org

On Wednesday November 18, a Federal judge agreed with Western Watersheds Project and ordered the Bureau of Land Management to hold off on its decision to increase cattle grazing on the 10,260 acre Calcutta Allotment. T he Calcutta Allotment is located in northwest Nevada adjacent to the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge and is managed by the BLM Surprise Field Office.

In his decision, Administrative Law Judge Harvey C. Sweitzer halted BLM’s decision to increase the number of cows authorized to use these public lands because Western Watersheds Project had demonstrated that the BLM had failed to consider the impacts of increased cattle numbers and new range facilities on sage grouse.

“Calcutta Allotment contains important habitat used by sage grouse, pygmy rabbit, and bighorn sheep. Cattle impact these species in many ways. Cows may trample and disturb nesting sage grouse, compete for important food plants, degrade the habitat, and promote the spread of weeds and nonnative vegetation” said Michael J. Connor, California Director for Western Watersheds Project. “The BLM must take into account the true impacts to sensitive and imperiled wildlife when it makes decisions to authorize livestock grazing on our public lands.”

The appeal of the Surprise Field Office Manager’s Grazing Decision for Calcutta Allotment was brought by Western Watersheds Project’s California Office. Western Watersheds Project is demanding that the BLM complete the full environmental reviewthat is required by law.

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Western Watersheds Project is a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting and improving wildlife habitat, riparian areas, water quality, and other natural resources and ecological values throughout the West. It has offices in California, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.

Read the Order

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