Court finds a Colorado national forest planned well for Canada lynx

By Michael Doyle | 03/12/2024 01:22 PM EDT

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel rejected an environmental group challenge.

A Canada lynx in the Rio Grande National Forest.

A Canada lynx in the Rio Grande National Forest after being released near Creede, Colorado. The lynx is listed as a threatened species. David Zalubowski/AP

A federal appeals court Monday rejected environmentalists’ claims that the threatened Canada lynx is inadequately protected by the plan prepared for one of Colorado’s largest national forests.

In a detailed and unanimous ruling, a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the land management planning done on the 1.8-million-acre Rio Grande National Forest.

The ruling endorsed the work of both the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service, which had been challenged by Defenders of Wildlife.


“An agency has discretion to rely on the reasonable opinions of its own qualified experts,” wrote Judge Scott Matheson Jr., adding that “even in the face of conflicting expert views, an agency generally ‘has made a reasoned decision,’ if other record evidence supports the agency’s decision or if the record is consistent with the agency’s expert’s assertions.”