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August 2008

Conservation Connection August 2008

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In this issue:

  • Wildlife update!
  • Old growth
  • Colville wilderness
  • Wild Links

Northern spotted owls on the Gifford Pinchot NF

Northern spotted owl on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, a vanishing breed?
Photo: Paul Bannick



For Wildlife, One Step Forward, Two Steps Back?

In some parts of the state, the backcountry is getting wilder as we witness the return of wolves and wolverine. On the Olympic Peninsula, native fisher were recently reintroduced to much fanfare and excitement. Unfortunately, there are the spoilers out there...and the Bush administration is number one on the list.

The Bush administration is once again out to plunder the Endangered Species Act, America's safety net for the most endangered plants and animals. Proposed regulatory changes would exempt from independent reviews by biologists and members of the public tens of thousands of publicly funded projects. We hope the courts strike this one out. Until then, take action at Defenders for Wildlife.

The recently released "recovery" plan for northern spotted owls cuts protection for one-fifth to one-half of the endangered bird's critical habitat, most of it in Oregon–not inconsequentially where some of the biggest remaining old-growth trees remain. Spotted owl populations are declining by 4% a year in the Northwest. It's time to be improving, not removing, protections for old growth.


family with old growth

Old-growth trees do big work: cleaning water, nurturing wildlife, refreshing people, and storing carbon from the air.
Photo: James Johnston

Legislating Old Growth Protection

Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has released a draft proposal to permanently protect the last remaining old-growth forests on federal lands in Oregon. Conservation Northwest is encouraged by Senator Wyden's commitment to resolving the controversy surrounding the logging of our region's oldest and biggest trees but is working to improve the draft concepts in the proposal. Building off our long history on this issue, we recently teamed up with our conservation allies to offer the senator some important changes needed.

At the top of the list, we are asking the senator to retain public involvement and environmental review for large forest management projects and to follow scientific recommendations suggesting that protection for forests 80 years and older is needed. We expect to see a new, improved draft of the proposal this fall.



Twin Sisters Roadless Area

Twin Sisters Roadless Area along the Kettle Crest, worthy of wilderness protection?
Photo: Eric Zamora


Evaluating Wilderness on the Colville

Today, the Forest Service plans to release their wilderness evaluations for the Colville National Forest, to be followed by a comment period and series of public meetings around northeastern Washington.

Conservation Northwest has worked with the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition through a community process to come up with a balanced approach on the Colville National Forest, a proposed plan that includes wilderness, sustainable forestry, and forest restoration.

Protecting wilderness is as much about leaving something sweet and pure for our children as it is an effort to coalesce pieces of a fractured ecological puzzle. And it doesn't happen without your help and involvement. Please ask the Forest Service to bring balance back to the forest plan, to help ensure certainty for wildlife, roadless watersheds, and future generations.




Selkirks grizzly bear

Animals large and small need safe passage: A grizzly bear in the Selkirk Mountains in northeastern Washington.
Photo: Dana Base/WDFW

Making Wild Links for Wildlife

Keeping animals connected means connecting the people who work with habitat and wildlife every day. Wild Links is our annual wildlife briefing that gathers scientists, non-profits, funders, and interested citizens to share ideas and coordinate efforts to keep the Northwest's wildlife and wildlife habitat wild.

This year's Wild Links highlights "Planning for a Future with Working Landscapes and Wildlife Linkages from the North Cascades to Northeast Washington," scheduled for September 9-10, 2008, in Chewelah in northeastern Washington. Presentations and speakers include Conservation Northwest executive director Mitch Friedman, Lloyd McGee of Vaagen Bros. Lumber, and Forest Service wildlife biologist Bill Gaines. Also on the agenda is an update on wildlife corridors from the Western Governors Association.




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