Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration To Protect Southwest Waterways From Cattle Damage

Jan 14, 2020

The Center for Biological Diversity has filed another lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s Administration. This one says the administration has failed to prevent livestock from damaging southwestern rivers and streams.

Credit Center for Biological Diversity

The waterways are home to numerous endangered and threatened species: Southwestern Willow Flycatchers, Yellow-Billed Cuckoos, Gila Chub, Loach Minnow and Spikedace fish among others.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson, says the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing cows to trample rivers and streams on more than 30 grazing allotments in the upper Gila River watershed on Arizona’s Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest and the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.

Recent surveys by the Center found severe cattle damage on all major waterways in both national forests, resulting in widespread degradation of streamside forest habitat and water quality, and imperiling several rare species.

The Center says the cattle damage along with diversion of water from the rivers led the environmental group American Rivers to name the Gila the nation’s most endangered river in 2019.