Case Summary Citation
629 F.3d 1024, 2010 U.S. App. LEXIS 25904, 2010 WL 5157167 (9th Cir. Dec. 21, 2010)
The Wilderness Act generally prohibits the development of all structures within wilderness areas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service built two water tanks for bighorn sheep residing in the especially arid Kofa Wilderness region of southwest Arizona. The Ninth Circuit analyzed whether these structures fell within the narrow ―minimum requirements‖ exception of the Wilderness Act. Although constructed with altruistic motives, the court found the water tanks violated the Wilderness Act because the Service failed to adequately demonstrate that these tanks were truly necessary for the conservation of the Kofa bighorn sheep population. This decision and the showing of necessity requirements it announces will impact all agency action fitting within the ―minimum requirements‖ exception.