Action Alert: Protect Northern Spotted Owl Habitat

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Monday, June 25th, 2012

Take Action Now: Protect Northern Spotted Owl Habitat!

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rule to designate critical habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl threatens to weaken protection for mature forests in Northern California and throughout the Pacific Northwest.  The proposed rule would allow extensive logging and degradation of owl habitat; forests that also provide clean drinking water and shelter spawning grounds for Pacific salmon.  In addition, the proposed rule exempts over 2.5 million acres of critical habitat under a legally flawed approach, reminiscent of the Bush Administration.

We need your help to fix this proposed rule!

Please tell the Obama Administration that our magnificent old-growth forests must remain protected for the sake of the owl, other species, and future generations of Americans.

Unfortunately, the government isn’t making commenting on this plan as easy as they could, but we will not be deterred. To make your voice heard and submit your comment, click here or visit: www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FWS-R1-ES-2011-0112-0030

Fill in your name and contact information.  We have provided some suggested comments below.  However, in order to greatly increase the impact of your action, we encourage you to personalize your comment by adding your own feelings and experiences.  You may also learn more by listening to the 6/26/12 KMUD Environment Show featuring a discussion on the Northern Spotted Owl.

Please forward this alert to others.  Thank you for your help on this important issue.

Sample Comment:

I am writing in support of protecting the mature and old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest that provide numerous economic and ecosystem benefits and are essential to threatened species such as the Northern Spotted Owl, the Marbled Murrelet, and Pacific salmon. Conservation of the old-growth ecosystem by the Northwest Forest Plan was a significant environmental advance that ended decades of unsustainable management practices. Studies show that the plan is working — the highly fragmented forests are growing back into large blocks needed to maintain water quality and recover threatened species such as the Northern Spotted Owl.

The draft Critical Habitat proposal raises concern because it does not protect all of the habitat essential to the conservation and recovery of the spotted owl.  The rule also proposes to exclude habitat on state and private lands necessary for recovery, particularly coastal redwood forests.  In addition, even for areas designated as Critical Habitat, the draft rule allows logging that is not supported by science. Three major scientific societies are advising the Obama Administration to conduct more research before more owl habitat is lost.

We agree with the scientists’ call for caution. The necessity and benefits of logging in owl habitat remain in scientific dispute; if allowed, it should be viewed as experimental, conducted on a small scale, and monitored to determine its impact.

The draft includes language allowing for weakening or eliminating protections of the Northwest Forest Plan. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must ensure that the protected reserves are maintained. Logging areas now protected by the Northwest Forest Plan, including mature forests that the Plan had intended to become old-growth is inconsistent with sound science and should not be allowed.

Sincerely,