Wilderness Watch v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
629 F.3d 1024 (2010)
The Kofa National Wildlife Refuge and Wilderness (Kofa), located in Arizona, contained a population of bighorn sheep (sheep). In 1997, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) (defendant) issued a management plan stating that the needs of the species located within Kofa did not conflict with the requirements of the Wilderness Act (Act), 16 U.S.C. §§ 1331-36. The Act’s purpose was to preserve wilderness areas in their natural condition. Section 1331(c) of the Act prohibited structures within wilderness areas unless they were necessary to meet the minimum requirements for wilderness-area administration. Various factors contributed to the sheep population’s decline in Kofa, including hunting, hiking, and the relocation of some of the sheep to other areas. In 2006, the FWS prepared a report that reached no conclusion regarding the causes of the population decline, but identified water availability as a critical factor in population viability. A 2007 FWS investigative report identified several actions to increase the sheep population, including the end of sheep relocation and hunting activities, the reduction of mountain-lion predation, and the temporary closure of trails. Although the investigative report identified the creation of new water structures (structures) as an option to recover the sheep population, the report did not state that the structures were necessary. The report concluded that a necessity finding under § 1331(c) could be avoided by building the structures outside of Kofa. In 2007, the FWS built two structures within Kofa. Wilderness Watch and other conservation groups (plaintiffs) sued the FWS, claiming that the structures violated § 1331(c) of the Act. The district court held that the FWS had rationally concluded that the structures were necessary. The district court granted summary judgment to the FWS, and the plaintiffs appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Graber, J.)
Dissent (Bybee, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 726,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Berkeley, and Northwestern—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students.Unlock this case briefRead our student testimonials
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students.Learn about our approachRead more about Quimbee
Here's why 726,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 45,700 briefs, keyed to 983 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.