New Proposals For Post-Fire Logging Fail To Protect Northern Spotted Owls

Thursday, November 21, 2013
Northern Spotted Owl
Northern Spotted Owl
- photo by USFWS

In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, a coalition of forest and wildlife conservation groups on Thursday called on the Obama administration to implement measures in the final Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan to protect post-fire forest habitats and structures used by the threatened owls and their prey.

The November 21 letter notes that “action is needed as a result of legislative proposals, such as H.R. 1526, that would expedite post-disturbance logging and because of projects currently being considered by federal agencies.” H.R. 1526 has been passed by the House and similar legislation to expedite post-fire logging, S. 1479, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

“Plans to boost post-fire logging in Spotted Owl habitat ignore the best-available science and would cause harm to old-growth forests,” said Steve Holmer, senior policy advisor with American Bird Conservancy. “Government scientists have concluded that in order to recover the rapidly declining Northern Spotted Owl population, protection is needed for forest structures created by fires such as large standing dead trees that are used by the owls to nest in,” he said.

An Oct. 31 letter to Congress endorsed by 250 scientists says “legislation to expedite post-disturbance logging is inconsistent with the current state of scientific knowledge, and would seriously undermine the ecological integrity of forest ecosystems on federal lands.”

“Cutting down burned trees after a fire negatively impacts Northern Spotted Owls,” said Randi Spivak with the Center for Biological Diversity. “But the harm goes beyond owls because it impedes natural tree growth, causes erosion and, when tree plantations are put in place, increases risk of future fires.”

The final revised recovery plan for the Northern Spotted Owl includes recommendations to recover the species so that it can be removed from the list of Threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Notably, Recovery Action 12 in that plan addresses post-fire management actions and specifically says that: “In lands where management is focused on development of Spotted Owl habitat, post-fire silvicultural activities should concentrate on conserving and restoring habitat elements that take a long time to develop (e.g., large trees, medium and large snags, downed wood).”

“We urge that Recovery Action 12 be implemented to protect owl habitat in burned forests,” said Steve Pedery of Oregon Wild. “Projects such as the Pole Creek Fire Salvage Project on the Deschutes National Forests which plans to log over 900 acres of Northern Spotted Owl critical habitat needs to be substantially revised to comply with Recovery Action 12.”


Gear Closet Extends Hours; Supports Clean Water Initiatives, Locally And Globally

The Gear Closet, in North Chattanooga, is extending its hours. It will be open six days a week, from Tuesday through Sunday from 12-6 p.m. each day. Earth Day gear drive can encourage the public to do some spring cleaning and donate or consign your old gear and clothing. There will also be a drop off available at Recycle Signal on Signal Mountain as part of the Recycle Challenge ... (click for more)

Kentucky Lake Wounded Soldier Open Bass Tournament Scheduled For May 17

Registration is underway for the Fifth Annual Wounded Soldier Open Bass Tournament to be held at Paris Landing on Kentucky Lake, Saturday, May 17. The tournament format will be a three-fish limit with a guaranteed first prize of $2,000. The cost of the tournament is $110 per boat (two anglers maximum). Entrants who register by the end of the day on May 1 will receive a free ... (click for more)

UAW Abruptly Drops Appeal Of Vote At Chattanooga Volkswagen Plant

The United Auto Workers announced Monday morning that it was withdrawing objections filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding February's vote at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, effectively terminating the NLRB review process. UAW President Bob King said the decision was made "in the best interests of Volkswagen employees, the automaker, and economic ... (click for more)

Child Playing With Cigarette Lighter Starts $25,000 Mobile Home Fire

A child playing with a cigarette lighter started a mobile home fire on Saturday morning. At 9 a.m., the Chattanooga Fire Department responded to a mobile home fire at 6561 Cassie Lane. It took four fire companies about 10 minutes to get the fire under control. The fire was contained to one bedroom. No injuries were reported. Damage to the home is around $25,000. (click for more)

When The City Was Silent - And Response

I don't know how to say this without getting my head handed back to me on a platter as is often the usual case. But at least I no longer receive the hateful (even threatening) emails and insults I became accustomed to. So I'll just bite and say it: I honestly don't see anything expressed by the NSM that hasn't been said locally on some level at one time or another, and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: VW-UAW Fiasco Begins

One pundit who is awaiting the opening volleys of “The Volkswagen Hearings” is calling today’s start of the labor union fiasco at the Hamilton County Courthouse as fascism at its finest. That’s what you call it, he wrote in a fiery way, when the union, the employer and the president of the United States all line up on the same side. “And this push to eviscerate the legal rights ... (click for more)