Alaska Fish & Wildlife Conservation Fund – Litigation
The Fund successfully defended the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to stop spring goose hunting in the Yukon Delta nesting areas when goose populations were at depressed levels. The result has been increased populations of geese and subsequent lifting of hunting restrictions.
Alaska Wildlife Alliance v. Board of Game: The Fund successfully defended the appointment and confirmation process of Board of Game members from the Alaska Wildlife Alliance’s attempt to judicially appoint non-consumptive users. If the suit had not been dismissed, judges would be able to appoint BOG members.
Wildlife Management: The Fund participated in a lawsuit resulting in the Gulkana River being declared navigable, and therefore open to the public. This decision was critical to future navigability and public access decisions on rivers throughout Alaska. This decision also opened up thousands of miles of public waters to public access.
Katie John v. Alaska: The Fund filed an Amicus brief on behalf of the State asserting that Alaska was the appropriate governmental body to manage navigable rivers adjacent to or in connection with federal lands. Governor Knowles dropped his own states appeal in this highly politicized case in 2000, thereby allowing increased federal intervention into managing Alaska’s fish and wildlife.
Navigable Rivers: McDowell v. Alaska: The Fund backed Sam McDowell in this historic case in which the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that a rural priority for subsistence was unconstitutional because it violated the common use and equal access provisions of the State constitution. The ruling has proved critical to ensuring all Alaskans have the right to common use and equal access of Alaska’s fish and wildlife.
ANILCA: The Fund joined McDowell in a similar suit against the federal government (“McDowell II) on the grounds that the subsistence provisions of ANILCA are not consistent with the United States constitution and infringe upon both individual and states’ rights.
Alaska v. Babbitt: Similar to the “McDowell II” case, the Fund filed an Amicus brief on behalf of the State in the historic Alaska v. Babbitt case. The suit challenged the federal constitutionality of ANILCA with regard to equal treatment under the law. Governor Knowles dropped the suit with prejudice, extinguishing one of the best chances of resolving the subsistence issue in over a decade.
Leg. Council v. Babbitt: Pending Governor Knowles decision to drop the Alaska v. Babbitt lawsuit, the Fund joined with the Legislature in the Legislative Council v. Babbitt lawsuit, again challenging the constitutionality of ANILCA. The suit was dismissed due to lack of standing.
Bondurant v. Dept. of Interior: This case is the last case in the court system challenging the constitutionality of ANILCA. The Fund has donated to the suit to assist Dale Bondurant in his efforts and is also working on legislation that would allow the Legislature to enter as a public trustee plaintiff. The case has been accepted on limited terms by federal district Federal District Judge H. Russell Holland.