Government has failed to protect northern spotted owl, suit says
Local News: Tuesday, November 08, 2005
The Seattle Times
By GENE JOHNSON
The Associated Press
The northern spotted owl, an icon of the Northwest's environmental movement, was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1990, but federal officials still have not bothered to come up with a plan for protecting it, said a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court on Monday.
"They've been telling us for years they were going to do it," said Alex Morgan, conservation director at the Seattle Audubon Society, which joined the Kittitas Audubon Society in filing the suit. "This is 15 years late."
Joan Jewett, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, acknowledged that federal officials never completed a final recovery plan for the northern spotted owl. Part of the reason was that the compromise Northwest Forest Plan reached in the early 1990s helped protect the spotted owl on federal lands.
But, she said, the agency recently agreed that it would complete such a plan — hopefully within 18 months.
An estimated 2,400 pairs of owls live in Washington, Oregon, Northern California and British Columbia, but the number continues to drop.