WWP Wins 9th Circuit Challenge to Grazing in Louse Canyon - SE Oregon

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Western Watersheds Project, with our Oregon allies at the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), has won an important victory at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals !


Livestock grazing on the Louse Canyon Geographic Management Area (LCGMA) in Southeast Oregon has brutalized the landscape and damaged wildlife habitat on over 528,000 acres of public land.

Louse Canyon Geographic Management Area

Despite its own environmental review identifying livestock grazing as responsible for the dire conditions found on the landscape, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has refused to implement meaningful measures to reduce and/or remove livestock from the allotments. Instead, BLM is relying on complicating grazing regimes, fencing, water developements and other anthropogenic insults aimed at maintaining status quo levels of grazing on the allotments rather than doing what is necessary to improve the condition of wildlife habitat.

Western Watersheds Project, along with the Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), had filed litigation in federal court challenging BLM's environmental review as inadequate to ensure improved conditions on the Louse Canyon GMA. BLM immediately issued subsequent decisions slightly altering management and filed briefs in federal district court arguing that our claims were moot given the new decisions. The district judge agreed with BLM's claims and dismissed WWP & ONDA's lawsuit.

WWP and ONDA appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, where we prevailed. The case has been remanded to the federal district court to rule on the merits of our claims and consider appropriate remedies.

Read the 9th Circuit Memorandum Disposition

WWP’s excellent legal representation in this case is by Mac Lacy of ONDA, Kristin Ruether of Advocates For The West's Boise Office and Dave Becker of Portland, Oregon.