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Court Allows Sheep Watering Tanks in Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
September 11, 2008.
From the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society:
On Monday the US District Court rendered a decision in favor of US Fish and Wildlife, Arizona Game and Fish Department and the Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society (among others) regarding a Wilderness Watch suit filed on June 15, 2007, concerning the installation of two permanent water structures on the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.
The judge, the Honorable Mary H. Murguia, states "The Court notes that the language of the Wilderness Act prohibiting motorized equipment and permanent structures is subject to exception where "necessary to meet minimum requirements for the administration of the area." The court further stated "... that the FWS engaged in a reasonable harmonization of the two statutes controlling its actions on the land in question." The statutes being referenced are the Wilderness Act and the NWRSIA.
The court's Conclusion read as follows: "The Court finds that the decision to construct two permanent water impoundments using motorized equipment in an area designated as wilderness did not violate the Wilderness Act. The Court also finds the agency's actions did not require the FWS to provide public notice and comment, as they were undertaken pursuant to an appropriate categorical exclusion."
Sportsmen can consider this a significant victory. This is one battle in a continual fight to protect wildlife and conservation efforts in the state of Arizona. We'll maintain our diligence in continuing to fight these battles for bighorn sheep and other wildlife in our state. The Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Society is the primary "single species advocate" fighting to restore and enhance bighorn sheep populations in Arizona. Your contributions and support make this advocacy possible.
For more information on the Sheep Society log on to www.adbss.org.