An environmental group has agreed to drop a lawsuit after reaching an agreement with federal and state agencies about how to handle forest thinning projects in the habitat of the Mexican Spotted Owl. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.
The agreement was negotiated between the Center for Biological Diversity, which filed an intent to sue last April, and the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and state agencies. The agencies agreed to provide specific information to the public about future restoration projects in owl habitat, including data about the number of large trees, canopy cover, and effects of prescribed burns. The agreement applies to projects on the Coconino, Kaibab, and four other national forests in Arizona and New Mexico. The Mexican Spotted Owl has been listed as threatened since 1993. A separate lawsuit by WildEarth Guardians prompted a judge to halt timber activities in owl habitat last year. WildEarth Guardians is still in discussions with the U.S. Forest Service and has not yet finalized any agreement.