ANOTHER SPOTTED OWL SUIT

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Wed Aug 23 00:42:04 EST 2000


>From The Oregonian, Aug. 22, 2000, p B14

ENVIRONMENTALISTS SUE FEDERAL AGENCY OVER SPOTTED OWL
Ten Northwest groups claim the Fish and Wildlife Service has not
protected the endangered bird

By PEGGY ANDERSEN, The Associated Press

	SEATTLE -- Ten Northwest environmental groups are suing the Fish and
Wildlife Service, contending the agency has failed to protect the
northern spotted owl -- the bird that forever changed logging in the
region.
	The groups content the agency has neglected its duties to the shy
bird that lives deep in the woods. It was declared a threatened species
nearly a decade ago -- a listing that curbed logging on public lands and
changed logging practices on private lands throughout the region.
	Officials at the Fish and Wildlife Service's regional office in
Portland had not seen the lawsuit. Activists said the agency would be
served with the complaint this week. The lawsuit was filed Aug. 11 in
U.S. District Court in Seattle, the activists said.
	"All I can say is that we're very disappointed that they want to go
to court over this -- mostly because we've been meeting with them in good
faith for some time over this issue," said agency spokeswoman Jenny
Valdivia.
	The lawsuit contends the agency "has for years authorized the U.S.
Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to 'take'" -- defined as
harm, harass or kill -- "owls without keeping track of the number of owls
taken or the effects on the owl population in Pacific Northwest forests,"
said a Monday news release from plaintiff groups.
	At issue are "incidental take permits," issues by Fish and Wildlife
officials to the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service that
allow timber sales to proceed, said James Johnston with the Cascadia
Wildland Project in Eugene.
	"The U.S. Forest Service has a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy with
regard to owl take," said Mitch Friedman, executive director of the
Northwest Ecosystem Alliance in Bellingham, Wash.
	The groups content the agency violates the Endangered Species Act by
allowing the Forest Service to authorize logging "in forests designated
as critical habitat for the owl's recovery," the release said.
	Under the Endangered Species Act, the Fish and Wildlife agency "is
essentially responsible for protecting the owl," Johnston said.
	The groups plan to seek a halt to Fish and Wildlife authorization
for logging until the agency "adequately analyzes impacts to the
species," the news release said.
	"We're going to ask Fish and Wildlife to do it right and, until they
do it right," stop them from authorizing logging-tract sales on federal
lands, Johnston said.
	There was no immediate response Monday from the Washington Forest
Protection Association, an industry group in Olympia, or the Northwest
Forestry Association in Portland.
	In the early 1990s, U.S. District Judge William Dwyer in Seattle
barred logging on millions of acres of federal land on grounds the
government had failed to protect the owl as required by the Endangered
Species Act.
	The Clinton administration addressed those concerns with the 1994
Northwest Forest Plan, which anticipated a drop in the owl population --
then estimated at about 5,000 pairs -- at a rate of less than 1 percent a
year during the next 40 years.
	In April 1999, a five-year report on the plan found the owl
population was declining at a rate of about 5 percent a year -- between
3.9 percent and 8.3 percent annually. The slide was worse -- 12.4 percent
-- on the Olympia Peninsula.

Comment by poster: you knew it was coming, didn't you? After the decrease
in NSO population population was noted last month, it was almost a given.
So what exactly did the Clinton NFP accomplish? The data was obsolete
while still being discussed and compromised on...and since no one seems
too interested in creating habitat specifically for NSO, what is the
alternative? I'm kind of interested, since I have land within a mile of a
known NSO pair, and am also upstream from known Cuthroat trout
populations, a species already threatened and perhaps headed for an ESL
listing. That combined with some of the worst timber prices in the last
30 years makes nearly any management of the property pointless. Comments?
Suggestions? Alternatives!??

Posted as a courtesy by:
Daniel B. Wheeler
www.oregonwhitetruffles.com


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