NFS Litigation Weekly January 10, 2020

The Forest Service summaries are here:  Litigation Weekly January 10, 2020_Final Email

They have not attached any supporting documents this time, but the summaries are longer.  I’ve added a short overview here.


  • Idaho Conservation League and Greater Yellowstone Coalition v. U.S. Forest Service, et al. (D. Idaho)

The district court remanded the decision to the Forest Service to consider the impacts of the Kilgore Exploration Project (a 5-year mining exploration project) on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest  on groundwater and derivative impacts on stream water quality and Yellowstone cutthroat trout.  Here is the court’s opinion.


  • Short et al v. Federal Highway Administration (D. N.D.)

Plaintiff landowners claim NEPA and historic preservation violations for the Little Missouri Crossing Road and Bridge project, which encroaches on and crosses the Little Missouri National Grassland of the Dakota Prairie Grassland.  (The Forest Service was named as a non-signatory cooperating agency.)


  • Sawtooth National Forest trail

Sawtooth Mountain Ranch LLC sent two 60 Day Notices of Intent to Sue pursuant the Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act regarding the construction of the Redfish to Stanley Trail in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area near the Salmon River.  The District Court of Idaho has already denied a preliminary injunction based on other issues.

  • Forest plans in Region 3

WildEarth Guardians sent six 60-day notices of intent to sue claiming the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Forest Service failed to comply with the Endangered Species Act when they consulted on the effects of Forest Plans on the Mexican spotted Owl and designated critical habitat on the Apache-Sitgreaves, Cibola, Coconino, Coronado, and Prescott National Forests.  They state that new information also requires reinitiation of consultation on the Kaibab National Forest Plan.

(These are the same plaintiffs who brought the lawsuit against other Region 3 national forests that led to an injunction against many projects resulting from failure to monitor Mexican spotted owls, discussed here and elsewhere.  The FWS recently filed a new biological opinions intended to remove the injunctions on those forests, as described here:  “Forest management strategies now focus more on ecology and a “return to pre-settlement fire regimes, both of which have potential to benefit the spotted owl” instead of more commodity-based management including commercial timber harvest, the biological opinion states.”  The new NOI involves forests not subject to the current injunction.)

  • Idaho Panhandle timber project

Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Friends of the Clearwater sent a 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue pursuant to the Endangered Species Act for  determining that the Brebner Flat Project would have no effect on grizzly bears and Canada lynx and therefore not consulting with the Fish and Wildlife Service.

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