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 ONDA.
    • 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.