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Northern spotted owls are in trouble. On one hand, barred owls are displacing spotted owls where logging has degraded their habitat. On the other, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is approving more logging in what little critical habitat they have left—right here in Mt. Hood National Forest!
That's why we need you to take action today by sending a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service!
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s abrogation of its duty to protect owls has reached a new low in Mt. Hood National Forest’s North Fork Mill Creek Revised Timber Sale. Your click will hold this federal agency accountable for its actions.
Forest Service kowtows to timber industry
In 2006, the Forest Service planned “fuels-reduction” logging in the northeast flank of Mt. Hood National Forest across thousands of acres of land designated as Critical Habitat for the threatened northern spotted owl.
Fast forward to 2013: the Government Flats Complex Fire burned through much of the North Fork Mill Creek Project area. About half of the “fuels reduction” units had already been logged but burned just as severely as the surrounding forest—due to the immense amounts of slash left over from logging.
Surely the Forest Service would cancel the contracts, now that the fire had effectively reduced fuels for them—especially when considering that post-fire salvage logging is well-known to have no ecological benefits.
Unfortunately. . .
Enter the Forest Service’s North Fork Mill Creek Revised Project – which insists that the Forest Service must allow logging of the burned trees to “meet the existing contractual and economic obligations” with the timber companies.
Not only is this incorrect, as the contract allows the Forest Service to modify or terminate projects due to catastrophic damage, it also flies in the face of ALL available science regarding post-fire management of spotted owl critical Habitat.
Because the Revised project would adversely affect the spotted owl, the Forest Service had to consult with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service—the agency directly responsible for ensuring the recovery of the spotted owl.
Surely the agency charged with protecting the spotted owl would have followed its own Recovery Plan, which says "post-fire silvicultural activities should concentrate on conserving and restoring habitat elements that take a long time to develop (e.g., large trees, medium and large snags, downed wood)” and put an end to it.
Unfortunately. . .
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service rubber stamps Mt. Hood timber sales.
While the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service admits that “treatments occurring are not designed to have spotted owl benefits,” it still authorized the Forest Service to log and degrade many acres of Critical Habitat.
So who does have the owls’ backs?
Bark does! And so do you!
Send a letter to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service today, and stand up for spotted owls!
And don't forget to share with a friend.
Brenna Bell, NEPA Coordinator/Staff Attorney
PS – Ready to get your Hood on this Sunday?
Join Bark volunteer Audie Fuller for a hike on Mt. Hood's eastern flanks! We'll visit the recently revived Polallie Cooper timber sale—one of a series of large-scale logging proposals currently planned for Mt. Hood. Click here to learn more!