11.8 C
Houston
Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Fish and Wildlife Service to Slash Imperiled Spotted Owls’ Habitat

The Trump administration said Wednesday that it would slash millions of acres of protected habitat designated for the imperiled northern spotted owl in Oregon, Washington state and Northern California, much of it in prime timber locations in Oregon’s coastal ranges.

Environmentalists immediately decried the move and accused the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under President Donald Trump of taking a parting shot at protections designed to help restore the species in favor of the timber industry. The tiny owl is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and was rejected for an upgrade to endangered status last year by the federal agency despite losing nearly 4% of its population annually.

“This revision guts protected habitat for the northern spotted owl by more than a third. It’s Trump’s latest parting gift to the timber industry and another blow to a species that needs all the protections it can get to fully recover,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director for the Center for Biological Diversity.

Timber groups applauded the decision, which won’t take effect for 60 days. More thinning and management of protected forests is necessary to prevent wildfires, which devastated about 300 acres (121 hectares) of spotted owl habitat last fall, said Travis Joseph, president of the American Forest Resources Council.

- Advertisement -

Loss of the ability to log in areas protected for the spotted owl has devastated rural communities, he said. The 3.4 million acres (1.4 million hectares) removed from federal protections Wednesday includes all of Oregon’s so-called O&C lands, which are big timber territory. The more than 2 million acres (809,000 hectares) are spread in a checkerboard pattern over 18 counties in western Oregon.

“This rule rights a wrong imposed on rural communities and businesses and gives us a chance to restore balance to federal forest management and species conservation in the Pacific Northwest,” Joseph said.

The Fish and Wildlife Service agreed in a settlement with the timber industry to reevaluate the spotted owls’ protected territory following a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court decision involving a different federally protected species.

The Trump administration has moved to roll back protections for waterways and wetlands, narrow protections for wildlife facing extinction and open more public land to oil and gas drilling.

But for decades, the federal government has been trying to save the northern spotted owl, a native bird that sparked an intense battle over logging across Washington, Oregon and California.

The dark-eyed owl prefers to nest in old-growth forests and received federal protections in 1990, a listing that dramatically redrew the economic landscape for the Pacific Northwest timber industry and launched a decadeslong battle between environmentalists and loggers. Old-growth Douglas firs, many 100 to 200 years old, that are preferred by the owl are also of great value to loggers.

After the owl was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, earning it a Time magazine cover, U.S. officials halted logging on millions of acres of old-growth forests on federal lands to protect the bird’s habitat. But the population kept declining, and it faces another threat: competition from the barred owl.

The Fish and Wildlife Service has since said the northern spotted owl warrants being moved up to the more robust “endangered” status because of continued population declines. But the agency refused to do so last year, saying other species took higher priority.

That decision is facing a legal challenge led by the Center for Biological Diversity.

© Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Newsmax

Latest news

Controversial Bonus Change At Bank Of America Pulls Forward $400 Million In Costs

A controversial change in how bonuses were to be issued for 2020 has wound up pulling forward $400 million in expenses, which will be booked...

Cities Have Themselves To Blame, Not COVID-19, For Sinkhole Status

Authored by Fergus Hodgson via The Epoch Times,The receding economic tide this past year has revealed many city officials to be naked.Oft-forgotten amid the COVID-19 chaos...

“We Look at Mexico as an Equal, Not as Somebody Who is South of the Border” (VIDEO)

Joe Biden told Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador that he looks at Mexico, which is ravaged by cartels, as an “equal.” Mexico is not...

CNN’s Chris Cuomo says he is ‘aware’ of brother’s situation, but ‘obviously,’ he ‘cannot cover it’

CNN anchor Chris Cuomo acknowledged the scandal embroiling his brother, New York Gov. Andrew...

Related news

Hillary Clinton: Cuomo’s Accusers ‘Deserve Answers,’ Allegations ‘Difficult to Read’

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton released a statement on Monday where she announced support for an investigation into allegations of sexual assault that have been...

Third Woman Comes Forward on Andrew Cuomo

Anna Ruch, 33, had never met Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) before a New York City wedding reception in September 2019. According to a report, the...

Pennsylvania House to Investigate Gov. Tom Wolf Sending Coronavirus Patients to Nursing Homes

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives announced an oversight investigation of Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D) handling of nursing homes and long-term care facilities during the...

AOC Claims Racism After New York Police Deploy Robotic Dog

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) seemingly accused the New York Police Department of racism after it deployed a robotic dog to fight crime in “low-income...

Bill de Blasio: Cuomo ‘Should Resign’ if Sexual Harassment or Nursing Home Scandals Proven True

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Monday on CNN’s “The Lead” that if the allegations of sexual harassment from...

Joe Biden Revokes Trump’s Order Requiring Classical Architecture for Federal Buildings

President Joe Biden has revoked former President Trump’s executive order that required federal buildings be constructed in the style of American classical architectural codes. In a...

Joe Biden Hosts Video Conference with President of Mexico: ‘We Are Equal’

President Joe Biden said Monday at the White House that the United States and Mexico are “equal” in North America, promising to work closely...

Biden And Mexico’s López Obrador Discuss Migration And COVID-19 In Virtual Meeting

President Joseph R. Biden Jr. met virtually with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico with a focus on immigration and COVID-19 recovery. Their Monday...