Federal judge in Oregon grants limited preliminary injunction of cattle grazing in National Forest to guard against irreparable harm to steelhead
Oregon Natural Desert Association v. Kimbell, Civil No. 07-1871-HA. (D. Oregon, June 15, 2009).
HAGGERTY, District Judge
EXCERPT: Because the United States Forest Service (Forest Service) has reinitiated formal consultation pursuant to § 7 of the Endangered Species Act, they are required to prove that the grazing proposed for the Malheur National Forest (MNF) for 2009 will not jeopardize listed species. Washington Toxics Coalition v. Environmental Protection Agency, 413 F.3d 1024, 1035 (9th Cir.2005). Federal defendants have shown that their grazing proposals for 2009 will not jeopardize listed species, however, the court is unable to rely on their assertions that their proposals will be properly executed. Due to the Forest Service's repeated failures to carry out planned mitigation and monitoring measures on the MNF, this court finds it prudent to enter an order ensuring the implementation of the Forest Service's proposals. Accordingly, a limited preliminary injunction is appropriate.
ANALYSIS: Plaintiffs have shown that they are likely to succeed on the merits of multiple claims against the Forest Service and National Marine Fisheries Service and that irreparable harm to Middle Columbia River (MCR) steelhead is likely to occur if this court does not partially enjoin grazing on the allotments at issue... The Forest Service and permittees are required to utilize all mitigation measures contemplated by the 2007-2011 Biological Opinion and all those proposed for the 2009 season in representations to this court... If the Forest Service determines that it cannot comply with applicable environmental laws and construct the proposed fencing for a particular pasture, then no cattle shall be grazed on that pasture absent the express permission of this court.
Photos, by ONDA, of stream conditions in Malheur National Forest, showing impacts of cattle grazing on Sept. 27, 2007 (on left) and benefits of recovery on Sept. 28, 2008 (on right).