Lawsuit drives proposed changes in elk feeding permit


The State of Wyoming has been feeding elk during the winter at several locations on the Bridger-Teton National Forest for decades.  Environmental plaintiffs challenged a 2016 decision to authorize the continued use of the Alkali Creek Feedground, and the court remanded the decision because of NEPA violations, as described here.

Rather than appealing or spending years studying the feedground’s impacts to address the judge’s concerns, the Forest Service and Wyoming wildlife managers came up with a plan that will allow emergency elk feeding on a smaller area for five years and then end the operation by 2024 (with a possible extension). That plan is now being “scoped” and is open for public comment.  The scoping letter is attached to this article.

This is an example of how litigation may lead to a better decision (after the appropriate public review process).  It appears to have made the State take a closer look at whether it really needed this feedground.  However, plaintiffs don’t appear to have been involved in the new proposal yet.  It’s also interesting that the original decision was based on an EIS/ROD, which the court found to be inadequate, but this is being proposed as a categorical exclusion (so maybe the Forest has an idea that they are not going to be challenged on it?).

1 thought on “Lawsuit drives proposed changes in elk feeding permit”

  1. Another story with a theme of litigation as a precursor to negotiation. Here a private landowner sued the Forest Service to get access to his inholdings.

    Now, after 15 years legal disputes and negotiations, White and the Forest Service agreed July 19 to exchange 60-foot-wide, 30-year easements, each with renewal clauses, that will give each side the access they seek. “I got my butt kicked in a lawsuit and (Forest Supervisor) Avey reminded me of that every 20 minutes when we were negotiating,” said White, ribbing Avey.


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