On Thursday November 18th, Federal District Court Judge James Redden of the Oregon District issued an injunction barring 27,000 AUMs (about 5,500 cows with calves for a 5 month period of use) of grazing use in the Owyhee River Wild and Scenic River corridor.
In this lawsuit filed by five conservation groups (the Oregon Natural Desert Association, the Committee for Idaho's High Desert, Idaho Watersheds Project, the Oregon Natural Resources Council, and the Oregon Wildlife Federation), Judge Redden had ruled earlier that the BLM was in violation of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act for failure to analyze the effects of livestock grazing on the special attributes of the Owyhee River and several tributaries in Oregon.
Judge Redden stated: "continued degradation (by livestock) of the areas of concern within the river corridor constitutes irreparable harm" The Judge also concluded that the economic effects of the injunction would not be irreparable and would constitute a "negligible" overall effect of the income in Malheur County, Oregon.
IWP applauds the excellent work on this case of attorneys, Jack Sterne and Stephanie Parent, and the on-the-ground-truthing of biologist Katie Fite.
This is a great victory which will protect a compellingly beautiful place.
At a three person panel (which also included IWP's Jon Marvel and WSU Professor, Linda Hardesty) on collaborative management and the future of Idaho's rangelands held November 18th at the University of Idaho Law School Court auditorium, Mega-sheep rancher and High Country News Board Member Brad Little affirmed in front of 300 people that he would support the auction victory of Idaho Watersheds Project for a grazing lease of 777 acres he formerly held near Boise, Idaho. Rancher Little had not appealed the auction he lost, but the Idaho Department of Lands had recommended that he be awarded the lease anyway. A decision should be made by the Idaho Land Board on awarding this lease at their December 14, 1999 meeting.
Idaho Watersheds Project has applied to the Idaho Department of Lands for a change in lease category for a several hundred acre Idaho school endowment land grazing lease in the headwaters of Rock Creek in Owyhee County, Idaho. The new lease would be for sensitive species habitat protection. The springs on this lease constitute one of the largest Columbia Spotted Frog hibernacula in the high desert south of the Snake River. The area is currently being abused by cattle overgrazing which threatens this amphibian which is currently a species included in legal action against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to force its listing under the Endangered Species Act. This will be the first request by IWP to actually change a grazing lease to a higher category of lease with a greater annual lease payment.
The November 22, 1999 issue of The New Yorker magazine has an article by Nicholas Lemann which attacks the Center for Biological Diversity of Tucson, Arizona. Lemann's typically smarmy and snide report is summed up in the following quotation at the end of the piece In referring to the Center and it's director, Kieran Suckling: "They're outlaws. Outlaws cause trouble, alter the established order, and make authority figures angry. And, in the end, they get dealt with." Presumably Mr. Lemann means "at the end of a noose"!