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Northern Spotted Owls

Interior Secretary Manuel Lujan Jr. is choosing his words more carefully these days. His earlier off-the-cuff remarks on everything from cattle grazing on federal lands to the Alaska oil spill provided his critics with ample ammunition during his first 18 months in President Bush's Cabinet. Some of these critics have even raised questions about his ability to run one of the government's oldest, most broad-reaching and powerful departments. "Manuel thinks out loud, and that causes some difficulty once in a while," acknowledges John Schrote, a top aide who has known Lujan for two decades.
On a steep mountainside above the meandering Smith River, dozens of Douglas firs that have been growing since George Washington was President tower over a small parcel of public forest. All around, large swaths of the forest have been cut down, but here in a 31-acre island of trees, firs as tall as 180 feet provide shade and shelter for elk, bald eagles and, perhaps, the endangered spotted owl. The trees and creatures have survived fires, storms and the logger's chain saw. Now this patch of federal forest has become part of a political debate in Washington, D.C., and a test of the Endangered Species Act. Officially, the tract is known as the Clabber Creek Unit and is one of 44 proposed timber sales in the public forests of southwestern Oregon that have become embroiled in the long-running battle over protection of the spotted owl. In a dispute that has pitted two federal agencies against each other, the Bureau of Land Management wants to log all 44 parcels--4,570 acres of virgin forest--to help maintain the economy of the region.
April 11, 1992 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A federal judge in Seattle lifted a year-old ban on logging in national forests where northern spotted owls live. U.S. District Judge William Dwyer said the Forest Service had satisfied his demand for a plan to protect the threatened bird. But Dwyer said his decision doesn't preclude a challenge to the plan. Such a challenge is contained in a lawsuit filed by the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund on behalf of 11 conservation groups. The Forest Service plan would restrict logging on 5.
June 8, 2001 | From Associated Press
The flight of immigrants from California to Oregon doesn't just include high-tech transplants and retirees. Spotted owls seem to be headed north too. Scientists examining the genetic makeup of owls from as far north as the Siuslaw National Forest west of Corvallis found that about 13% were California spotted owls. It's not clear why the scarcer California owls, native to the Sierra Nevada and Southern California mountains, are flying north.
September 30, 1990 | CHARLES SOLOMON
Peter Steinhart divides the state into its physical habitats and lists the endangered ("in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range") and threatened ("likely to become an endangered species within the forseeable future") animals in each region. The list is depressingly long, ranging from the American peregrine falcon to the El Segundo blue butterfly and Kern Canyon slender salamander.
December 25, 1991 | From Associated Press
Federal biologists are convinced that northern spotted owls reproduce only in forests with old-growth characteristics, despite timber industry claims to the contrary, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service official said Tuesday.
July 23, 2013 | By John M. Glionna
SAN FRANCISCO - Federal wildlife officials have moved one step closer to their plan to play referee in a habitat supremacy contest that has pitted two species of owl against one another in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. On Tuesday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a final environmental review of an experiment planned in three states to see if killing barred owls will assist the northern spotted owls , which are threatened with extinction after a major loss of territory since the 1970s.
July 29, 1995 | From Associated Press
Environmentalists revved up a "21-chain-saw salute" in front of the White House on Friday in a mocking ceremony for President Clinton's signing of a logging law. "Americans better get used to the sound of chain saws in their national forests. That's what they are going to hear the next two years," Sierra Club President Robert Cox said. Chanting "we want a leader, not a logger," about 150 environmental activists joined in the rally at Lafayette Park across the street from the White House.
April 1, 1993 | ALAN CHARLES RAUL, Alan Charles Raul, an environmental lawyer in Washington, was general counsel of the Agriculture Department during the Bush Administration.
On Friday, the President will hold his promised Timber Summit. Loggers, mill workers and the so-called timber-dependent communities will face off against their main competition for living space in the Pacific Northwest--the northern spotted owls, the marbled murrelets and the Snake River Sockeye. If only the wildlife were willing to compromise.
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