WildEarth Guardians

A Force for Nature

WildEarth Guardians
News from the Frontline

Fighting for salmon and steelhead in the Willamette River


With 99 percent fewer Upper Willamette Spring Chinook salmon and steelhead now returning to the Willamette River to spawn than in the past, Guardians and allies warned the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers of our intent to bring suit to protect these threatened fish. Hundreds of thousands of fish once leapt Willamette Falls to spawn in the river’s tributaries until the Corps built four tall dams in its upper waterways. Though the fish are protected under the Endangered Species Act, the Corps has done little to help them recover. We don’t have years to wait for the Corps to do its job, so we’re doing our duty to protect these emblems of the Pacific Northwest.

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"Undesirable" is an understatement


Our efforts to use the Freedom of Information Act to expose, highlight, and hold to account the Trump Administration for its desire to despoil our land, air, and water are already coming to fruition. What have we learned? For one thing, that at least one oil and gas disaster has occurred on our public lands every day since 2010. The oil and gas industry calls these “undesirable events.” We call them spills, equipment failures, fires, injuries, fatalities, and more. Even one oil and gas disaster is one too many, and these data only underscore that the last thing our public lands need is more fracking. After all, if the oil and gas industry can’t prevent events like these from happening every day, then why should it be allowed to take such risks with our public lands and public health?

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Protecting flows in the Colorado River


With a new project slated to divert nine billion gallons annually from the already imperiled Colorado River, we filed suit with our allies to give the river a right to its own water. The Windy Gap Firming Project would pipe, store, and use the river’s water to address the endless thirst of the Front Range. While other tried-and-true, more-sustainable options exist for quenching the thirst of the Front Range’s industries and municipalities—including water conservation, water recycling, and obtaining water from farmers—federal agencies have ignored them. The project, along with other proposed projects, would bring the amount of water drained from the Colorado River up to 80 percent. We will continue to fight these unnecessary new water development projects to ensure the Colorado River sustains native fish and wildlife for future generations.

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Win against Wildlife Services in Colorado spares cougars and bears


We scored a major win for wildlife in Colorado when, in response to our lawsuit challenging its activities, the federal wildlife-killing agency Wildlife Services agreed to temporarily stop using many of its barbaric killing tools. Until it completes a new analysis (by August 1, 2018), Wildlife Services cannot use or fund the use of M-44 cyanide bombs on public lands in Colorado or deploy or use certain traps and snares. Significantly, Wildlife Services can no longer participate in Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s misguided killing of black bears and mountain lions under the guise of “studying” the killings’ effects on mule deer populations. The more information is made available, the more the public and decision makers will understand that Wildlife Services’ slaughter is cruel, ineffective, and unscientific.

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Northern California wildlife spared from Wildlife Services' cruelty


Guardians’ and allies’ litigation in Northern California is also dragging Wildlife Services into the light. Our recent settlement forces Wildlife Services to implement numerous protections for wildlife in Northern California. Until it analyzes the environmental impacts of its killing of coyotes, bobcats, and other wildlife in 16 Northern California counties, Wildlife Services can no longer deploy cyanide bombs, den fumigants, and lead ammunition, and is forbidden from using traps and aerial gunning in designated wilderness and wilderness study areas. The outcome is good news for California’s endangered gray wolves, which could be killed accidentally in indiscriminate traps set for other carnivores and by cyanide bombs, as well as for the hundreds of animals that would have suffered and died at Wildlife Services’ hands.

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New map series highlights Powder River Basin coal mining dangers


It looks like an alien spreading its tentacles across the United States. In reality, it’s something even scarier: the pervasive carbon footprint of northeast Wyoming and southeast Montana’s Powder River Basin. “The Carbon Footprint of the Powder River Basin” is one of many maps included in our Climate and Energy team’s new interactive map series highlighting the dangers of strip mining coal in the Basin. From the carbon pollution of power plants burning Powder River Basin coal, to the air pollution that is linked to more than 2,500 deaths every year, here’s your chance to learn more about the epicenter of the U.S. climate fight.

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Confronting fracking on Yellowstone's doorstep


If there’s one thing we’ve learned from the Trump administration, it’s that nothing is sacred—not even one of our most precious national parks. Livingston, Montana, gateway to Yellowstone National Park’s northern end and the Beartooth Front, could soon have fracking on its doorstep. We’re on the front lines defending our air, water, and communities, and submitted extensive comments slamming these fracking plans. The more than 63,000 acres of Montana public lands could be auctioned off for as little as $2 per acre—a sad fate for a truly priceless landscape. To make matters worse, the leases would also devastate Montana’s sage-grouse population, as more than 23,000 acres of the lease sale are in prime sage-grouse habitat.

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photo credits: (Left column) Dam—Conrad Gowell. Chaco Well Explosion—Kendra PintoColorado River—Jen Pelz. Cougar—Getty Images. Coyote Mom and Pup—Holly Kuchera. Carbon Footprint of Powder River Basin Map—WildEarth Guardians. Roosevelt Arch, Yellowstone NP—Acroterion, Wikimedia Commons. (Right column) Painting by Renée Vance—Renée Vance. Dinner Party—WildEarth Guardians.



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Recent Op-eds

October 28
Santa Fe New Mexican
John Horning
"Of ladybugs and public lands"

November 2
Seattle Times
Chris Krupp
"Ryan Zinke is erasing 'public' from lands he's meant to guard"

Activist Spotlight:


"I am an artist living in Tucson, AZ, and am fortunate enough to be surrounded by wildlife in abundance. Living in the desert, every day I see the interconnection of each and every animal to their environment and also how important it is to protect them and the natural areas they need to survive. This is why I put WildEarth Guardians in my will. I want to do all I can to help these animals and I know WildEarth Guardians will be fighting for their protection and the wild places they need, long after I’m gone."


Renée Vance

For more information on legacy giving, please contact WildEarth Guardians Development Director Kevin Gaither-Banchoff.

Upcoming Events

December 7 - Albuquerque Treehugger Bash. Greg Dyson, our Wild Places Program Director, will talk with us about protecting the wild Gila bioregion, the streams being restored on the Valles Caldera, and the charismatic New Mexico meadow jumping mouse and Mexican spotted owl. Plus, our local monuments! Tickets are $35 per person or $25 for monthly donors.

December 8 - Paper Cut Art Show. 100 percent of proceeds will benefit WildEarth Guardians. Learn more and RSVP.

February 2, 2018 - Telluride Mountainfilm Festival

May 4, 2018 - Howling Affair


Do you own appreciated stock? Do you love WildEarth Guardians’ vision and mission? The stock market is at record highs and now might be the perfect time to maximize your impact on the wild, and maximize your tax benefits, by making a gift of appreciated stock to Guardians. For more information, contact Kevin Gaither-Banchoff or Guardians’ Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor, Ben Alaimo-Monson, at 505-988-7702. 


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Our monthly donor program, Wild Bunch, offers you a way to support our work with ongoing dedication. Learn more here.

So, How'd it go...

Transparency: it’s something we applaud, but why is it so important? In light of our filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with the Bureau of Land Management every single day last month, Guardians’ Shannon Hughes sat down with renowned FOIA expert and University of Denver law professor Margaret Kowka to chat about the law’s importance.

Listen to their conversation here



Take six hungry Guardians, a 700-square-foot Portland bungalow, and a whole tableful of tasty food, and you get a dinner party for the ages (and proof that we enjoy each other’s company outside the office!)

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WildEarth Guardians' mission is to protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West.


MAIN OFFICE: 516 Alto Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501 Phone 505.988.9126
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