Agency Says Spotted Owl Not Endangered

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The agency says the owl population is stable and programs that prevent forest wildfires will allow it to thrive. But agency spokesman Al Donner says there is one hazard. 

"We found that the biggest threat to the owl is the risk of catastrophic wildfires in the Sierra so we’re encouraging the careful management, i.e. removal of fuels that will help to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and we think that will help." 

He says Forest Service tree thinning programs will prevent the spread of wildfire flames.

Environmentalists disagree.

They say the real problem is the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan that was amended in 2004 to allow cutting trees of up to 30 inches in diameter. They say it is logging in disguise and destroys owl habitat.