SE Idaho Pleasantview Allotment cut 19% in BLM lawsuit settlement

New Release. March 25, 2002
Contacts: Linn Kincannon, Idaho Conservation League: 208-726-7485
Jon Marvel or Keith Raether, Western Watersheds Project: 208-788-2290
Judith Brawer, Land and Water Fund of the Rockies: 208-342-7024

The Idaho Conservation League and Western Watersheds Project have settled a lawsuit with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), reaching an agreement that will reduce livestock numbers by nearly 20 percent this year on the Pleasantview grazing allotment in southeastern Idaho.

In the settlement, the BLM agreed to rescind a June 2001 grazing decision that the agency´s own studies showed would continue to damage streams and plants on the allotment.

“We are sorry it takes a lawsuit to force BLM to obey the law and heed its own scientists, but we are glad the agency recognized it was wrong and is willing to take the needed steps to comply with the law,” said Linn Kincannon of ICL.

The 70,000-acre Pleasantview allotment, which includes 59,000 acres of public lands and two water sources (Sheep Creek and Wood Canyon Creek), is about 18 miles west-northwest of Malad City in the Pleasantview Hills of Oneida County in southeastern Idaho.

The BLM has long acknowledged that the allotment is extremely degraded by livestock use. Agency staff determined in 2000 that a 19 percent reduction in livestock was needed to comply with “carrying capacity,” but the BLM backpedaled on management reforms last year after ranchers complained and politics came into play.

Represented by Laird Lucas and Judith Brawer of the Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, ICL and WWP sued in federal court in October 2001 to challenge the BLM decision.

A hearing had been scheduled for April 5 to determine whether the BLM violated federal law by failing to implement the recommendations of its own staff.

In the settlement, the BLM agrees to enforce reductions in livestock and other protection for sensitive streams. ICL and WWP agree to allow grazing on the Pleasantview allotment this year until the BLM prepares a new decision.

“This settlement will give a long-overdue boost to wildlife and water quality in southeastern Idaho,” said WWP executive director Jon Marvel.

The settlement was filed Thursday in federal court by the BLM and the conservation groups.

Story from last October on the original filing of the lawsuit.