National Forest Legal News Blog


Environmental Group Sues Over Western Grazing, Sage Grouse

Posted by nationalforestlawblog on April 22, 2009 at 8:18 PM

The San Francisco Chronicle has this report about a lawsuit that challenges the affects of western grazing on the Sage Grouse.  However, instead of seeing a solution in litigation, this report says that the group hopes that the Obama administration will simply cave and reverse the decision of the Bush administration. 


At issue in the lawsuit is the BLM's National Sage Grouse Habitat Conservation Strategy. The agency adopted it in 2004 as an interim plan to help protect the bird and guide management of federal rangeland while the Fish and Wildlife Service considered whether to protect the sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act.


However, ranchers have fought back and are represented by the Mountain States Legal Foundation. 


Ranchers and drillers said the suit is part of an effort to keep livestock, energy development and other commercial activities off an area of the West bigger than the state of Indiana.

"They are trying to tie up 25 million acres and close it down to livestock operators altogether," said Ronald Opsahl, a lawyer for the Mountain States Legal Foundation, which represents the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Petroleum Association of Wyoming. "As far as the scope of this case, it has to be unprecedented."

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1 Comment

Reply robert murphy
08:52 PM on April 27, 2009 
I posted the following information on my blog in January of this year which was titled "spying on sage grouse":
Idaho State University researchers have been placing camouflaged infrared cameras in sage grouse nests to determine the extent to which predators are eating their eggs. According to the Idaho State University Magazine, Vol 39. No. 1, one of the major reasons for the decline in sage grouse populations is the depredation of nests. Ground squirrels, badgers and ravens all raid nests, but so far research shows that the greatest threat are ravens, whose populations have increased 200 to 500 percent in areas of sage hen habitat.