A federal judge has ruled in favor of grizzly bears and bull trout in our lawsuit against the 2018 revised Flathead Forest Plan!
U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy cited Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in ruling that federal agencies were negligent in abandoning the prior Plan's Amendment 19 road management protections for grizzly bear and bull trout, saying it is "like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet."
Amendment 19's road closure and removal requirements are credited with putting threatened grizzly bears on a path toward recovery. Its requirement that culverts be removed from permanently closed roads is credited with helping protect threatened bull trout from the sediment released by inevitable culvert wash-outs.
The revised Flathead Forest Plan abandoned these requirements, so Swan View Coalition and Friends of the Wild Swan filed a lawsuit in 2019. Judge Molloy's 6/24/21 Order requires the Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service to reconsider its abandonment of Amendment 19 and to conduct new Endangered Species Act reviews of any new road-building projects.
Our victory should also slow down federal efforts to remove ESA protection from the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem grizzly bear population, which is premised on the same abandonment of Amendment 19 road and motorized vehicle management.
Click here for our joint press release with Earthjustice.
Click here for Judge Molloy's Order.
Click here for more background on our lawsuit, first filed in 2019.
WildEarth Guardians and others also filed a lawsuit against the Flathead Forest Plan, which the court combined with ours.
Logging road landslide into Sullivan Creek bull trout habitat!
Keith Hammer photo.