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Enviro groups declare victory in steelhead litigation

Longrunning suit protected habitat on John Day River


A federal judge ended a decade-long series of cases this week that should improve steelhead trout habitat on the John Day River in Eastern Oregon.

The Oregon Natural Desert Association, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Western Watersheds Project argued that the U.S. Forest Service’s cattle-grazing plan for public lands along the river violated the Endangered Species Act and National Forest Management Act.

Their litigation won a series of injunctions against cattle grazing and other protections.

“This case makes clear that agencies must make steelhead protection their highest priority on our public lands,” said Brent Fenty, Oregon Natural Desert Association executive director.

“Grazing on hundreds of miles of important fish streams can only proceed today if the Forest Service and National Marine Fisheries Service can guarantee that grazing will not harm steelhead.” said Jon Marvel, executive director of Western Watersheds Project.