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Judge rules in favor of nonprofits in lawsuit over grazing on Sonoran Desert Monument

Conservationists have battled the Bureau of Land Management over cattle grazing on the Sonoran Desert National Monument for years.

Now, a judge has ruled in their favor in a dispute over the practice.

More than two decades ago, the Clinton administration ordered the BLM to carefully weigh the impacts of grazing on plants and animals in Sonoran Desert ecosystems.

The agency came up with a management plan for the monument in 2012, but conservationists sued over its livestock analysis and have won a series of judgements since.

Cyndi Tuell of the Western Watersheds Project said the BLM must submit a new plan.

"Hopefully they’re going to get it right this time, you know, third time’s a charm," Tuell said. "We’re hoping that BLM will acknowledge the truth of the fact that livestock grazing seems really incompatible with this monument."

Conservationists have also won a series of judgments over target shooting on the monument, which is southwest of Phoenix.

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Ron Dungan was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2024.