WildEarth Guardians

A Force for Nature

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WildEarth Guardians’ mission, vision, and history – Protecting the voiceless

Mission, Vision, and History

WildEarth Guardians is an effective, top-rated 4/4-star 501(c)(3) non-profit vetted by Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.

We are Guardians.

We protect and restore the wildlife, wild places, wild rivers, and health of the American West.

We envision a world where wildlife and wild places are respected and valued and our world is sustainable for all beings.

We believe in nature’s inherent right to exist and thrive. We speak for the wild life, places, and waters that have been dominated and abused to serve the interests of a greedy few. Bit by bit, we are restoring the balance.

We are now, as always, A FORCE FOR NATURE.

WildEarth Guardians’ Landmark Victories

Our hard-won victories and continued growth bear testament to this truth: nothing can dissuade us from a vision that entails protecting all of the American West, from its Rocky Mountains and Great Plains to its vast Sagebrush Sea.

— John Horning, Executive Director, WildEarth Guardians

Shut Down Scofflaw Ranchers’ Illegal Grazing

December 2019

Dwight and Steven Hammond were convicted of arson for setting fire to U.S. Bureau of Land Management Lands and their grazing permits were revoked. Then President Trump pardoned the Hammonds and then-Interior Secretary Zinke renewed their permits with no environmental analysis. In response to our lawsuit, a judge revoked the Hammonds’ privilege of grazing on public lands.

Saved the Home (and Future) of the Mexican Spotted Owl

October 2019

After the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service failed for 23 years to ensure spotted owl recovery by collecting basic data on owl populations across the Southwest, Guardians sued to protect the owl and won. The ruling halted logging on six national forests in New Mexico and Arizona–12 million acres total.

Stopped a Massive Wyoming Logging Project

June 2019

The Medicine Bow Landscape Analysis Vegetation (LaVa) Project covered 850,000 acres and would have logged 360,000 of them, including 123,000 acres across 25 different Roadless Areas. It would also have included building 600 miles of temporary roads. The Forest Service withdrew the project after pressure from Guardians and allies.

Granted Greater Chaco a Reprieve From Fracking

May 2019

After many years of work by Guardians and allies, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals held that the Bureau of Land Management illegally approved fracking in the Greater Chaco region, as it failed to take into account the impacts of nearly 4,000 new oil and gas wells on water supplies, community health, air quality, climate, and the cultural integrity of the area.

Scored a Landmark Climate Victory

March 2019

In response to Guardians’ lawsuit, a federal judge ruled that the Bureau of Land Management did not adequately quantify the climate change impacts of oil and gas leasing and rejected the sale of 300,000 acres of public lands in Wyoming for fracking. The ruling is a major blow to the Trump administration’s anti-environment, anti-climate agenda, and has implications for public lands across the American West.

Protected Wild Lands and Wildlife on the Ochoco National Forest

January 2019

We safeguarded fragile landscapes and wildlife on the Ochoco National Forest of Oregon by blocking a U.S. Forest Service plan that would have added 137 miles of disruptive and damaging new off-highway vehicle trails.

Saved Yellowstone’s Grizzlies


We restored Endangered Species Act protections to the grizzly bears of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in the nick of time, on the eve of a planned trophy hunt.

Protected the Lobo


After our legal challenge, a judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to redo its 2015 management rule for Mexican wolves. The misguided plan ignored best available science, placing arbitrary population caps on lobos; limiting their territory; and allowing more lobos to be killed—hardly conducive to recovery of the species.

Kept It in the Ground


We prevailed in the conservative-leaning 10th Circuit, winning a ruling that could ultimately keep two billion tons of coal in the ground in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming. The victory complements our relentless legal advocacy to bring a just and swift end to the federal coal program.

Defended Nevada’s Wildlife From the Federal Wildlife-Killing Agency


We won a legal settlement that prohibits federal wildlife-killing agency Wildlife Services from trapping, poisoning, and using other cruel and indiscriminate practices on more than six million acres of our public lands in Nevada.

Protected Hundreds of Endangered Species


We reached a landmark nationwide Endangered Species Act legal settlement with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which prevented the government from dragging its feet when adding animals and plants to the endangered species list. Our actions resulted in the listing of nearly 200 endangered species by 2016.

Gave the Rio a Right to Its Own Water


After five years of legal advocacy, we secured the first-ever instream flows for the Rio Grande. The Rio, America’s Great River, is the lifeblood of the desert southwest; when its flows diminish, the ecology, culture, and economy of the surrounding area suffer. Securing flows for the river is vital for safeguarding its future.

Halted Logging on 21 Million Acres of National Forests


Our lawsuit remains one of the largest in the history of the Forest Service and essentially ended logging as we know it in the Southwest. It also protected the home and habitat of the endangered Mexican spotted owl.