The core ESA question addressed by the court was whether FWS properly determined that road building was reasonably certain not to occur and whether FWS properly relied on USFS's promises to protect listed species made in letters from the USFS Supervisor in IPNF to FWS.
2008) ("[N]either the NFMA nor the IPNF Forest Plan require the Forest Service to improve a species' habitat to prove that it is maintaining wildlife viability.").
In addition, IPNF established a record of using best available science to carry out caribou friendly activities, such as location of old growth tree stands and vegetation management plans suitable for caribou recovery.
on its own report, Lands Council claimed the IPNF currently fell short
court recognized that the project complied with IPNF Plan Standard
The Supervisor of the IPNF selected the Modified Alternative Eight Plan, which calls for the logging of 17.5 million board feet of lumber from 1,408 acres of the IPNF.
Next, the Ninth Circuit held that USFS's plan violated provisions of NFMA by failing to comply with sections of the IPNF forest plan dealing with health standards for IPNF fisheries and soil quality standards.
The Ninth Circuit also reviewed USFS's methodology in evaluating whether the project would meet the IPNF standard for limiting detrimental soil conditions to fifteen percent of the project area.
The Ninth Circuit concluded that, under the rule of Kleppe and Kern, USFS adequately considered cumulative impacts because USFS rationally explained its decision to exclude the IPNF
from the scope of assessment.