Spotted Owl Old Growth Habitat Protections Reduced
Article Date: 2007-06-12 Source: http://www.earthjustice.org
Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) today released its proposal to substantially reduce protections for old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest that the threatened northern spotted owl depends upon for its
survival. The new proposal would remove protections from over 1.5 million acres
of the owl's old growth forest habitat – allowing more logging and development
and harming the owl's chance of recovery.
''Spotted owls are only one part of this story,'' said Kristen Boyles of Earthjustice. ''The old growth forests that are home to the owls are part of our Northwest outdoor heritage and give us places to hike, hunt, camp, drink clean water, and breathe clean air. Removing these protections would be a tragedy.''
The proposal relies on the draft recovery plan for the owl issued last month.
That draft recovery plan was greeted by a chorus of criticism, including from
members of the recovery plan team itself, that Bush administration political
appointees rejected the body of scientific knowledge showing that protecting the
owl's old-growth forest home is essential to its recovery.
"By suppressing science in the draft recovery plan and then relying on that
plan, the Bush administration is setting up the dominos to topple old growth
protection," said Dominick DellaSala, a biologist who was part of the owl
recovery plan team.
"This proposal lets BLM off the hook and will allow it to gut old growth
protections in Oregon," said Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild. "Timber industry
demands are driving revisions to undermine the Northwest Forest Plan."
The push to dismantle the Northwest Forest Plan and other protections for the
owl is being driven by sweetheart deals between the timber industry and the Bush
administration in response to a series of "friendly" lawsuit settlements with
the American Forest Resource Council, a timber industry lobbying group. The
timber industry has long fought critical habitat protections, despite the
importance of habitat for species' recovery.
The Fish and Wildlife Service listed northern spotted owls as a threatened
species in 1988. Less than 20% of the original old-growth forests remain
throughout the Pacific Northwest. Old growth forests are important sources of
clean air and water and support native salmon runs.
Public comments on the proposal are due August 13, 2007.
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2008-06-03 - New Threats to the Spotted Owl Prompt Legal Notice on the Elliott State Forest by Noah Greenwald - Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
2007-04-28 - U.S. proposes killing owls to save another - Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
2007-03-16 - Spotted owl ruling halts local logging by Paul Fattig - Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
2007-02-16 - Appeals court says spotted owl protection violated by William McCall - Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
2005-04-20 - Old Growth Up, Spotted Owl Numbers Down by Jeff Barnard - Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
2004-06-22 - New threats imperil spotted owl - Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
2004-06-01 - Experts ponder latest menace to the spotted owl - Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
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