On December 31, 2009 Western Watersheds Project and the Wolf Recovery Foundation welcomed the New Year by filing litigation in federal court challenging the federal government's mismanagement of public lands and wolves in Central Idaho.
Read the Associated Press article :
Groups Sue to End Idaho wilderness copter landings - John Miller, AP 1/06/10
This important litigation aims to protect Idaho wolves by asking a federal court to halt mismanagement in three key ways :
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area (SNRA) encompasses roughly 778,000 acres of spectacular public land and wolf habitat in central Idaho. In 2002 WWP succeeded in demonstrating before a federal judge that the Forest Service was unlawfully failing to prioritize wildlife over livestock grazing in its administration of the SNRA as mandated by Congress, and that this mismanagement was unlawfully costing central Idaho wolves their lives.
The Forest Service's failure continues to this day as livestock are given priority over wildlife and continue to be authorized to graze on the SNRA without being required to take any preventable measures to minimize the likelihood of conflict with wolves.
Livestock grazing on the SNRA kills native wildlife. Many wolves have been killed and many more will continue to be killed should grazing be allowed to continue on the SNRA.
The misnamed "Wildlife Services" of the US Department of Agriculture uses taxpayer dollars to kill wildlife including more than 80,000 coyotes a year on public lands to preserve welfare ranching.
For years Wildlife Services has been killing Idaho wolves on behalf of ranchers without conducting adequate, legally required environmental analysis of the full suite of impacts that its "War on Wildlife" is incurring. It's time Wildlife Services' "War on Wildlife" stop.
This lawsuit asks the court to stop Wildlife Services from engaging in wolf "control" efforts until the agency fully analyzes its impact to Idaho wolves and a host of other environmental values that it affects.
In the summer of 2009, following the delisting of wolves, Idaho Department of Fish & Game requested to land helicopters within the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to radio-collar wolves.
Despite a complete lack of environmental analysis, the Forest Service has issued a permit to IDFG to land and collar wolves within the wilderness under a "Categorical Exclusion".
The darting of wolves and landing of helicopters is a violation of the spirit of wilderness.
With the filing of this important litigation by our remarkable attorney Laird Lucas, wolves and wilderness are getting the unflinching advocacy that they deserve.
I hope you'll take a look at this remarkable complaint and wish us luck !