Oregon Natural Desert Association v. Green
953 F.Supp. 1133 (D.Or. 1997)
Using the Wild and Scenic
Rivers Act (WRSA) (16 U.S.C. §§1271-1287), Congress designated the Donner Und Blitzen
River in Oregon as a "wild" river.
The Bureau of Land Management
(BLM) hired some scientists to survey the river and make a report.
The scientists reported that
the river area had a number of sensitive species, and that nearby cattle
grazing was harming the river ecosystem.
The scientists recommended
that BLM ban cattle grazing in the river area.
BLM released a comprehensive
management plan for the river that did not require the exclusion of cattle
in any new areas.
The management plan did
state an objective of improving the river ecosystem.
Environmental groups (led by
ONDA) sued for an injunction.
ONDA argued that the
management plan was insufficient and therefore a violation of WSRA.
Not only did the management
plan allow cattle grazing, it also allowed construction of roads and
parking lots and a project to divert river water for irrigation.
BLM argued that they already
excluded cattle grazing in some areas, and cattle rarely ventured into
the other areas. BLM argued that in any case, carefully managed cattle
grazing could be allowed without damaging the river ecosystem.
BLM argued that since
cattle were known to graze in the area when Congress designated the
river, they couldn't have intended to ban all cattle grazing.
The Trial Court found for
The Trial Court found that
when Congress designated the river as "wild" they intended BLM
to ban all cattle grazing.
The Court looked to 1273(b)(1) and found that "wild" river are to
be "free of impoundments and generally inaccessible except by
trail." Therefore, BLM had an express duty to not create roads and
parking lots in the area.