Enviros give a hoot

Intent on saving the northern spotted owl, the Center for Biological Diversity, along with several other conservation organizations, recently announced it’s planning to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over the endangered bird’s habitat in Oregon’s Elliot State Forest.

The pending lawsuit focuses on new information showing the species faces threats from habitat loss, which has led to competition with the barred owl along with diseases from the invading raptor.

Environmentalists’ battle with federal agencies over the bird dates back decades. Thirteen years ago, the Oregon Department of Forestry received an FWS permit allowing logging on 22,000 acres of spotted owl habitat in the 93,000-acre forest. At the time, the agency expected to lose 22 owl territories and 43 owls over the course of 60 years.

After just eight years, however, a survey showed that the species was not only limited to the expected 13 remaining territories, but also that two of the regions had no spotted owls at all.