Interior Protects 9.6M Acres as Spotted Owl Habitat

"The Obama administration [Wednesday] released a final rule setting aside 9.6 million acres of critical habitat for the federally threatened northern spotted owl, a species whose population continues to slide despite decades of conservation efforts."

"The final rule reduces the amount of lands in California, Oregon and Washington proposed for protections under a February draft by about 4.3 million acres and excludes all private lands and the vast majority of state lands. But the final habitat plan is still a near doubling, by acreage, of the George W. Bush administration's 2008 critical habitat plan.

In total, 9.3 million acres of mostly Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands and about 300,000 acres of state lands, mostly in Oregon, were included in the final rule.

And like Interior's draft proposal, the final rule promotes 'ecologically sustainable' logging that federal scientists argue will strengthen the owl's habitat by girding forests against pests and severe wildfires."

Phil Taylor reports for Greenwire November 21, 2012.

Source: Greenwire, 11/26/2012