Remember the Spotted Owl?
Sure there was some collateral damage, as in hard working folks put out of work, communities destroyed, economies crippled, but we save the Owl, right?
In the late 1980s, we heard that logging was wiping out the owls, and to save them we had to gut one of the Pacific Northwest’s major industries. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declared the spotted owl threatened in 1990, and in 1992 began putting its habitat off-limits to timber production — 5.3 million acres of it by 2008. In November, the Obama administration nearly doubled that total to 9.6 million acres.
By some estimates, more than 200 mills in the area have closed in the past two decades. Thousands of jobs disappeared. At least we saved the owl, right?
Well, no. Its numbers kept right on declining.
In the intervening years, we’ve learned that its difficulties primarily come from a bigger and tougher rival, the barred owl. Even Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe has noted “mounting evidence that competition from barred owls is a major factor in the spotted owl’s decline.”
So why do we keep making the same mistakes?
Heavy-handed federal regulation can put some of our communities on the endangered list, hurting local industries as well as government finances.
The reason is the avalanche of species under review for listing under the Endangered Species Act. Since 1973, the federal government has listed about 1,400 species as endangered or threatened. Just since 2007, though, more than 1,250 additional species have been petitioned for listing.
This surge is a result of “megapetitions,” requests by activists for reviews of hundreds of species at a time. The Fish and Wildlife Service can’t handle these requests within the statutory deadlines. In fact, clogging the process seems to be the intent of the activists. Delays lead to lawsuits — and settlements on the plaintiffs’ terms.
Let’s not let the Gunnison Sage Grouse become our Spotted Owl!
Read The Washington Times article HERE
- Feds consider killing barred owls to save another type (news.blogs.cnn.com)
- Survival of endangered spotted owls forces B.C. to kill cousin species (timescolonist.com)
- Shooting of owls OK’d to protect endangered species (cbc.ca)
- Survival of endangered spotted owls forces cull of cousin species B.C. population threatens to dip to single digits due to loss of habitat, encroachment by larger birds (vancouversun.com)
- Owl vs. Owl (slate.com)