January 26, 2017
Online Messenger #346
It isn’t every week that Western Watersheds Project floods your inbox with email, so we hope you’ll understand that we just didn’t want to wait to share this good news!
1.Victory for Oregon Spotted Frog!
WWP and our allies have prevailed in our court challenge to livestock grazing in the unique fen habitat of Oregon spotted frog! In an affirmation of a magistrate ruling from last September, the U.S. District Court of Oregon upheld plaintiffs concerns that the Winema Forest was overlooking adverse impacts to frogs when it authorized grazing on the 68,000 acre Chemult Pasture of the Antelope allotment.
The fen ecosystems of the Chemult pasture are unique and extensive and have resulted from millenia of complex processes, manifesting on the Antelope allotment in the form of peat-based plant communities and a host of rare and sensitive plant species. Livestock cause bare soil, pedestals, trails, and other impacts in this irreplaceable biophysical resource. Today’s ruling ensures that no grazing will occur again until the agency can demonstrate that habitats will be protected.
Take your time, Forest Service. No rush!
Many thanks to Advocates for the West for its skilled representation of WWP and our coplaintiffs, Concerned Friends of the Winema, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Oregon Wild, and the Center for Biological Diversity! Check out our own Paul Ruprecht’s photos from the allotment here.
2. Win for Bighorn Sheep – Nearly 19,000 acres CLOSED to domestic sheep grazing!
WWP won a major, lasting victory in its efforts to protect bighorn sheep from contracting deadly pneumonia from domestic sheep!
Seven years ago, WWP won an injunction barring domestic sheep grazing on four allotments scattered up and down the Main and Little Salmon Rivers of Idaho where bighorn sheep roam. Now the Bureau of Land Management has issued an amendment to the Cottonwood Resource Management Plan closing domestic sheep grazing on three of the allotments, keeping 18,966 acres free of the non-native disease-spreading sheep for at least the next 15-20 years… and likely forever. The Partridge Creek, Hard Creek, and Marshall Mountain allotments are now closed to domestic sheep grazing, expanding the area already closed by our wins on the Payette National Forest!
WWP provided comments and attended meetings during the long administrative process to close these allotments, and our constant pressure yielded a great outcome! And while it’s true that the allotments are still open to cattle, the terrain is so steep that they are unlikely to support much use. (And don’t worry: We’ll keep working on the cows!)