Enviros fight over CA Spotted Owl

Enviros fight over CA Spotted Owl


ca spotted owl 2The California Spotted Owl faces extinction unless logging is banned in forests in which “the small and declining owl population” may be found in California’s Sierra Nevadas and the mountains of Southern California.

So warns a petition submitted last week to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demanding the agency add the bird to the list of federally protected “threatened” or “endangered” species.

The petition was jointly filed by little-known advocacy groups Wild Nature Institute, based in New Hampshire, and the John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute, which maintains a post office box in Big Bear City.

The groups not only oppose continued logging on the 10 million acres of government-owned timberland in the Golden State, but also the 9 million acres of privately-owned timberland.

Their anti-logging zeal even extends to timberland ravaged by forest fires, like the 150,000 acres in Stanislaus National Forest and 77,000 acres in Yosemite National Park that burned up in last year’s Rim Fire.

“Forest fire is not the threat people think it is,” said Wild Nature Institute co-founder Monica Bond, the self-described “biodiversity activist” who co-authored the petition seeking protected status for the California Spotted Owl.


The timber industry represents a far greater threat to the California Spotted Owl, Bond insisted. Indeed, she lamented, “logging on public lands is rampant, and having a devastating effect on this species.”

Her view was seconded by Chad Hanson, director of the John Muir Project, who joined Bond in co-authoring the petition to the Fish and Wildlife Service. “Science is telling us loudly,” he said, “that this species is in danger of extinction.”

Others think the threat to the California Spotted Owl greatly exaggerated.

John Heil, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, said the agency has determined the California Spotted Owl is not in danger of extinction. The agency also believes wildfires, rather than logging, pose the greater threat to the owl’s natural habitat.

That’s why the Forest Service supports “salvage” logging in the charred Stanislaus National Forest. By removing the remains of the burned trees, the agency aims to create healthier forests – and owl habitat – going forward.

Environmental Defense Fund

The decision by the Forest Service has the backing of the Environmental Defense Fund, which boasts more than 1 million members. It parts ways with the Wild Nature Institute and the John Muir Project as to the best approach to post-fire recovery on the 400 square miles of public land consumed by the Rim Fire.

“Many in the environmental community instinctively approach recovery after disasters like this with a strategy of ‘letting nature heal itself,’” noted Eric Holst, senior director of EDF’s Working Lands Program, in a February blog post.

That approach would result in shrubs sprouting from stumps, which would be deleterious to seedling survival of conifers, particularly pine trees.

The pines “are incredibly valuable for Sierra wildlife,” Holst blogged. And in the wake of the Rim Fire, he argued, nature actually “makes it much harder for tree populations in areas impacted by the (fire) to rebound.”

That’s why loggers salvaging dead burned trees in the Sierras are doing a service to the California Spotted Owl population.


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  1. Hondo
    Hondo 30 December, 2014, 21:46

    I worked for the forest service marking pine forests where the pine beetle has devastated huge swaths of the western mountains. I have also worked on fire crews battling fires in these forests. The notion that a logging truck is a greater threat to these owls compared to a wild fire is insane and a joke. Only someone who smokes a ton of weed a day could believe such clap trap. A well MANAGED forest, such as the one just above Humboldt state u in Arcata ( it is just up at the end of the block, directly above the school), is far more healthy than the ‘virgin’ stands at Redwoods national park. Over population and ‘leaning’ trees are thinned and the result is almost ‘cathedral’ like in those managed forests. Deidre park near Evergreen Colorado is a heavily thinned and managed Ponderosa pine forest and the results are stunning. The trees and the land are so healthy looking and the scenes are almost church like. When you lower the basel area of a forest( depending of the species), in not so many years you can actually increase the board feet per acre.
    The forest service has been fighting these insanely uneducated environmentalists for decades to properly manage our forests. I am a certified right wing tree hugger and those earth first nuts are just terrorists.

    Reply this comment
  2. Dude McCool
    Dude McCool 31 December, 2014, 02:01

    I love the spotted owl……with garlic and butter

    Reply this comment
  3. Sean
    Sean 31 December, 2014, 07:58

    The lumber companies need to re-brand themselves. They need to play up their role as bio-mass harvesters for renewable fuels. Think about it, while lumberjacks in Oregon have been out of work for 30 years to protect the spotted owl (which is in decline due to an invasive species), forest wetlands in North Carolina are being harvested to make wood pellets to fire power plants in the UK to meet a renewable fuel standard. Lumber bad, firewood good.

    Reply this comment
  4. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 31 December, 2014, 11:20

    Sean….amazing post.

    Reply this comment
  5. LarryT
    LarryT 31 December, 2014, 16:16

    Loggings been dead for years now. So, why hasn’t this bird multiplied by the thousands? Well, another bird likes to eat the thing. Talk of killing the other bird, to save the Spotted owl? That figures. Lots of middle class families went broke when logging ended. Then fires burned the trashy forest this summer. Now there are no jobs, and no forest. No homes for the owl, either. Who thinks this crap up, anyway?

    Reply this comment
  6. Queeg
    Queeg 1 January, 2015, 09:04

    The globalist are firing up bag alternatives replacing plastic bags. Paper bags from logs? Salmonella laced inorganic reusable bags?

    Reply this comment
  7. Hank de Carbonel
    Hank de Carbonel 15 January, 2015, 11:00

    I thought the enviro’s wanted to “cull” the Barred Owl because they decided that was causing the Spotted Owls to decline. Once the enviro’s embark on a killing spree there is no telling where the consensus will lead them.

    Reply this comment

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