Bush threatens US spotted owls

This video is about spotted owls.

From Associated Press:

Spotted Owl Habitat Slashed as Population Declines

Bush administration slashes habitat for threatened spotted owl as population decline continues

By JEFF BARNARD Associated Press Writer

GRANTS PASS, Ore. August 12, 2008

The Bush administration has decided the northern spotted owl can get by with less old growth forest habitat as it struggles to make its way off the threatened species list.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday that the federal forest land designated as critical habitat for the owl in Washington, Oregon and Northern California would be cut by 23 percent, a reduction of 1.6 million acres. Critical habitat is a requirement of the Endangered Species Act and offers increased protections against logging.

Research shows that spotted owl numbers are dropping by 4 percent annually as a result of logging, wildfires and an invasion of its habitat by the barred owl, a more aggressive East Coast cousin that migrated across Canada and has been working its way south.

Conservation groups said the critical habitat designation and a new plan for restoring owl populations were contrary to the advice of leading scientists and crafted to fulfill a Bush administration promise to the timber industry to increase logging.

Both the plan and the habitat designation appear certain to be headed for court.

“This is a parting gift from the Bush administration to its timber friends,” said Kristen Boyles, an attorney with Earthjustice in Seattle, a public interest environmental law firm that has been fighting for the owl for two decades. “It flies in the face of the science that says we need to protect more habitat, not less.”

Tom Partin, president of the American Forest Resources Council in Portland, said the recovery plan and critical habitat would make it more difficult to thin overgrown forests to reduce the risks to wildlife and to promote the old-growth characteristics the owls favor.

“After almost 20 years of relying on a static regulatory approach which has led to continual inaction and further decline of the owl, it is clear we should be using active management to improve the health of our forests and the spotted owl,” Partin said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, this designation doubles down on a patently absurd approach.”

Logging of the largest trees in the Sierra Nevada’s national forests ended in the early 1990s after agreements were struck to protect species’ habitat. But new research by ecologists shows that spotted owls, one of the iconic species logging restrictions were meant to protect, have continued to experience population declines in the forests: here.

Scientists are puzzling out how to address the declining numbers of northern spotted owls (NSO) in their Pacific Northwest forest habitat. A new study in the Ecological Society of America’s journal Ecological Applications explores the reasons why spotted owls are losing a foothold in their habitat, forecasts future habitat conditions and species interactions, and suggests best management practices: here.

Leucistic barred owl in Montana: here.

2 thoughts on “Bush threatens US spotted owls

  1. Reuters

    Wed Mar 18, 2009 6:55am EDT

    County Supervisor Destroys Endangered Species Preserve; Environmental Groups Demand Prosecution With Jail

    PASADENA, Calif., March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Two nonprofit
    organizations started the legal process to protect a globally imperiled
    habitat and 247 plant and wildlife species that are dependent upon the
    protection of North Etiwanda Habitat Preserve, San Bernardino County.

    (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090317/DC85292 )

    The Spirit of the Sage Council, a nonprofit environmental group based in
    Pasadena, CA, and a staunch public lands defender, Native Forest Council of
    Eugene, OR, have joined forces to stop the County from destroying protected
    habitats and wildlife that use the 763-acre Preserve.

    Since 1994, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish & Wildlife Service and
    California Department of Fish and Game have been requesting that the County of
    San Bernardino protect the globally imperiled Riversidean and Alluvial Fan
    Sage Scrub habitat area.

    When the rare habitat lands were purchased in 1996, to create the North
    Etiwanda Preserve, it was to be conserved in its entirety to mitigate for
    damages caused by a highway expansion project in San Bernardino County. The
    Route 30/210 highway project was going to destroy rare sage habitats and 21
    listed and rare species of plants and wildlife. In return, federal and state
    tax payer funds were used to purchase the land at a Resolution Trust
    Corporation (RTC) auction and create the North Etiwanda Preserve, with an
    endowment of $700,000., for its permanent protection and management.

    Now, after more than a decade under the management of San Bernardino County,
    the Preserve is being turned into a park, with a 20 car parking lot, restroom,
    10 buildings and kiosks along with hiking and equestrian trails. According to
    Supervisor Paul Biane, “North Etiwanda will become a destination” for
    residents throughout San Bernardino and Los Angeles cities.

    Environmental groups, state and federal wildlife biologists all agree that the
    County Supervisor’s park and trails plan is not the way to protect and
    conserve the habitat and endangered species.

    “It was a big mistake of the highway and wildlife agencies to let the County
    manage the Preserve. It was like giving a known child molester a baby,” said
    Leeona Klippstein, Executive Director of the Spirit of the Sage Council.

    This week the Sage Council and Native Forest Council began the legal process
    to hold the local, state and federal government agencies accountable. A 60 Day
    Notice of Intent to Sue, under the Endangered Species Act, has been received
    by the County, San Bernardino Association of Governments, U.S. Federal
    Highways Administration, Caltrans, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the
    California Department of Fish and Game.

    “There was no doubt in my mind that what the County is doing to the Preserve
    was unlawful and a betrayal of public trust. The San Bernardino National
    Forest is immediately adjacent to the North Etiwanda Preserve to the north.
    It’s just not the biological integrity of 763-acre Preserve that’s affected by
    the habitat destruction. Many of the 247 known species we have identified
    depend on the Preserve and adjacent lands,” said Tim Hermach, President of
    Native Forest Council.

    Some of the wildlife species, including Golden Eagle, Bobcat, Mountain lion,
    Mule Deer and Black bear come out of the two San Gabriel Mountain range
    canyons, bordering the east and west of the Preserve, to hunt, forage and find
    sustenance on the large alluvial fan. Other species of plants and wildlife
    have been listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, including the
    California gnatcatcher, Southwestern willow flycatcher, least Bell’s vireo,
    San Bernardino kangaroo rat, Red legged frog and Mountain yellow legged frog
    to name a few.

    Under the federal Endangered Species Act the unpermitted and malicious “take”
    of listed species and critical habitat is punishable with fines and
    imprisonment. Supervisor Paul Biane and the County do not have permits to
    “take” species protected under the Act and did not consult with the permitting

    “Send Supervisor Paul Biane to jail? Absolutely! I can’t wait,” said Leeona
    Klippstein of the Sage Council.

    SOURCE Spirit of the Sage Council

    Leeona Klippstein, Executive Director, Spirit of the Sage Council,
    +1-626-676-4116; or Tim Hermach, President, Native Forest Council,

    © Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved


  2. Pingback: California wildfires kill lichen | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.