Friday, April 10, 2009
The Justice Department has signaled that the US Fish and Wildlife Service plans to revisit the northern spotted owl recovery plan and the reduced critical habitat designation issued last year at the end of the Bush administration. The Bush administration's plan opened 23 percent of 1.6 million acres designated as critical habitat in Oregon to increased logging.
The recovery plan may be too little, too late. Even as the Fish and Wildlife Service revisits last year's controversial plan, there is scientific concern about whether the owls can recover in light of continued loss of habitat from logging, a shrinking gene pool in some areas, increasing risk of catastrophic wildfires due to climate change, and competition from barred owls invading spotted owl habitat.
|U.S. Geological Survey.|