Lawsuit: BLM, FWS allow grazing to harm Arizona monument

By Scott Streater | 03/13/2024 01:37 PM EDT

The complaint says the administration did not follow through with previous promises to environmentalists.

A yellow-billed cuckoo.

A yellow-billed cuckoo is the subject of new Endangered Species Act litigation against the Bureau of Land Management and the Fish and Wildlife Service. Peter Pearsall/Fish and Wildlife Service via AP

Two conservation groups are suing the Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service in an effort to save two federally protected species from the impacts of cattle grazing inside an Arizona national monument.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, claims BLM and FWS are violating the Endangered Species Act by allowing livestock grazing to harm the habitat for the yellow-billed cuckoo and the Gila chub, both of which are federally protected and are found within the Agua Fria National Monument.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Maricopa Audubon Society are asking the court to order BLM and FWS to take steps to “ensure adequate interim protection for the threatened and endangered species, and their critical habitat,” until the two federal agencies “comply fully with the ESA.”


Tuesday’s legal complaint follows a similar lawsuit filed by the two conservation groups in January 2022 that was voluntarily dropped that year after a settlement in which BLM and FWS agreed to reinitiate ESA consultation to address impacts to the protected species from cattle grazing on five allotments inside the national monument.