Letter — Protect our forests, spotted owls
February 14, 2003
Yesterday the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it will not list the California spotted owl as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Yet Forest Service surveys indicate that the California spotted owl population has declined 7 to 12 percent annually. Protection under the ESA has already been provided for the other owl subspecies, the Northern spotted owl and the Mexican spotted owl.
And just last week, a leaked document shows that the Forest Service is planning drastic revisions to the Sierra Nevada Framework, a long-term plan for managing the forests. The Framework, passed under the Clinton Administration, offers protection for old growth forests and at-risk species, such as the California spotted owl. The Forest Service’s recommended revisions allow for logging of larger trees on 11.5 million acres of forest land in the Sierra Nevada. A loss of old growth trees not only endangers wildlife but lessens the beauty of our forests.
Residents of the Lake Tahoe area are particularly vulnerable to environmental threats. We must do all we can to protect our old growth forests and wildlife.
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