Owls In Trouble on Humboldt Redwood Company Land

Northern spotted owl fledglings. Tom Kogut, USFWS.

Northern spotted owls are cratering on lands managed by the Humboldt Redwood Company. This is the story of how a law allows special exemptions for Big Timber and the unwillingness of federal and state agencies to hold powerful companies accountable.

Humboldt Redwood Company inherited its Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) from its predecessor, the Pacific Lumber Company. Because it has a Habitat Conservation Plan, Humboldt Redwood Company also enjoys an “incidental take statement”—a license from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to “take”—harm, harass, kill, or wound—a certain number of northern spotted owls a year (something that would otherwise be prohibited by the Endangered Species Act). Humboldt Redwood Company enjoys this privilege because the Habitat Conservation Plan contains commitments to manage its lands in a manner that would result in a stable population of northern spotted owls on its property.

The Habitat Conservation Plan outlined that the company would need to maintain a certain number