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Move to protect spotted owls

Nov 24, 2008

Conservation Northwest joined others to file suit to protect northern spotted owls and restore old-growth critical living habitat for the failing bird.

Northern spotted owl. Photo by Brett ColeConservation Northwest was one of 18 conservation groups to file a lawsuit against the Bush administration today for failing to protect the northern spotted owl. The motion, which also requests intervention in a timber-industry lawsuit striving to increase old growth logging, was filed in response to the reduction of 1.6 million acres of old growth habitat for spotted owls.

The lawsuit also disputes the northern spotted owl recovery plan, which has largely been repudiated by independent scientists for unscientifically allowing logging in old-growth forests—areas listed as “critical habitat” for the protected spotted owl. The proposed logging increase violates the Endangered Species Act by reducing spotted owl habitat by up to one-half.

The northern spotted owl recovery plan is a blow to the conservation efforts that have protected their habitat since 1992. In the Northwest, spotted owl populations have been declining by about 4 percent per year because of logging of old-growth forests, which have been reduced to 15 to 20 percent of their original size.

Spotted owls require large areas of dense forest and will not typically fly through clearcut or disturbed land.

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