The Latest Bounce

  On New Year’s Eve, U.S. District Judge Christina Armijo ruled in favor of the Santa Fe, N.M.-based Forest Guardians and concluded that the Forest Service violated federal environmental laws when it neglected to study the long-term effects of grazing on the 25,000-acre Copper Creek allotment in the Gila National Forest. Though the cattle can stay for now, Judge Armijo has ordered the agency to begin studies immediately. The Forest Guardians hassued the Forest Service to complete studies on hundreds of other allotments in Arizona and New Mexico.



Two days shy of its implementation in May 2001, former President Clinton’s roadless rule was halted by a federal judge in Idaho (HCN, 7/30/01: Bush fails to defend roadless rule). Now, that rule may finally see the light of day: In mid-December, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the earlier decision and reinstated protection from road-building and logging for 58.5 million acres of undeveloped national forest.



In January, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals also ruled that the Forest Service must obey the Montana Wilderness Study Act and protect seven areas that are being considered for wilderness designation. The ruling makes it “mandatory” that the agency halt ATV and snowmobile use and stop issuing mining permits in 973,000 acres of wilderness study areas in six national forests in Montana.



In early December, four lynx trapped in Quebec arrived in Denver via an Air Canada jet. (HCN, 1/21/02: Will listing hurt the Colorado lynx?). They are the first of 50 that the Colorado Division of Wildlife will reintroduce to the state in 2003. Biologists will release the lynx in southwestern Colorado and hope to have 250 lynx and 30 breeding females in the recovery area by 2015.



The federal government continues to deny that its decision to send water through irrigation canals rather than down the Klamath River was responsible for the deaths of 33,000 salmon and steelhead trout last fall (HCN, 10/28/02: The message of 30,000 dead salmon). But California’s Department of Fish and Game has concluded otherwise. In a January report to the Bureau of Reclamation, the state pointed out that low flows trapped the fish and exposed them to disease. The report also underscores the “substantial risk” for future fish kills on the river.
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