Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.


Environmental groups fail to stop Southern Oregon logging projects

Northern Spotted Owl

Environmental groups have failed to convince a federal judge to block two logging and fuels reduction projects on 8,000 acres of public forestland in Southern Oregon.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken has refused to issue a preliminary injunction against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Bear Grub and Round Oak projects because the environmental lawsuit against them probably won’t succeed.

The Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands nonprofits are unlikely to prevail on their claims that federal wildlife biologists improperly considered the effects of BLM’s forest treatments on threatened spotted owls, the judge said.


While the ruling doesn’t end the lawsuit, Aiken determined the environmental plaintiffs “failed to show serious questions” regarding their allegations that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s analysis violated the Endangered Species Act.

“And on this preliminary review, FWS appears to have considered the relevant factors and articulated a rational connection between the facts found and the decisions it made,” as required by federal law, the ruling said.

In consulting with BLM on the projects, federal wildlife biologists found that the forest treatments would probably downgrade habitat in 37 of the spotted owl’s home ranges within the project areas, Aiken said.

However, the projects will require that logging units be dropped from timber sales if they’re occupied by spotted owls and will include other design criteria to avoid disturbing the species, Aiken said.


The federal government is unlikely to jeopardize the owl’s continued existence or otherwise “take” the threatened species because the vast majority of its nesting, roosting and foraging habitat won’t be negatively affected by the forest projects, she said.

“Instead, it found that the majority of (the habitat) in the action area — 96% in Bear Grub and 83% in Round Oak — would remain untreated and available to support current and future spotted owl populations,” the ruling said.

The judge said she cannot substitute her judgment for that of federal biologists but will allow the environmental plaintiffs to proceed with the lawsuit because they have standing to pursue the allegations in federal court.

The environmental plaintiffs filed the lawsuit last year, claiming the projects will further distress vulnerable spotted owl populations. They also alleged the federal government relied on uncertain or unenforceable conservation measures in approving the treatments.

Boise Cascade Wood Products and the Timber Products Co. have intervened in the lawsuit to defend the projects, which would generate 38 million board-feet of timber for their veneer and plywood mills, according to a court document.

A logging truck typically hauls about 4,000-5,000 board-feet of timber.

“Thus, proposed intervenors have a direct and substantial interest in being able to harvest the timber offered through these projects, and a direct and substantial interest in ensuring sufficient timber supply from the BLM generally,” they said.




In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

Home Contact


              Page Updated: Saturday April 09, 2022 12:13 AM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2001 - 2021, All Rights Reserved