HAILEY • The Western Watersheds Project is seeking a new leader to replace perhaps one of the most controversial anti-grazing advocates in the West.
The Hailey-based organization is currently overseen by Jon Marvel, Western Watersheds’ founder and executive director.
However, in mid-August, the nonprofit began advertising it was accepting applications for a new executive director.
Marvel is remaining tight-lipped on why his organization is seeking to replace him.
“No comment,” he said when asked if he plans on leaving Western Watersheds. “This isn’t a story.”
Marvel’s organization started in the early 1990s as the Idaho Watersheds Project, triggered by habitat degradation along a creek connected to the East Fork of the Salmon River. Over the years, Marvel became well-known throughout Idaho for leading a crusade against public-lands ranching. At the same time, Marvel’s no-nonsense, sometimes abrasive approach has become as famous as Western Watersheds’ activities.
The nonprofit’s lawsuits have influenced Idaho’s state and federal grazing regulations on public lands. Most notably, under Marvel’s leadership it has pursued a strategy of buying grazing allotments in order to retire them as conservation land. The organization has charted its own course even among environmental groups — racking up a number of court victories while refusing to compromise on matters such as a 2011 proposed settlement on delisting the gray wolf in Idaho.
Western Watersheds will accept applications until Oct. 1, according to its website.
The organization will make an announcement once a new executive director is hired, Marvel said.