United States Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and WildEarth Guardians reached an out-of-court resolution in the case WildEarth Guardians vs. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, et al. CV-13-00151-TUC-RCC in U.S. District Court in Arizona concerning the Mexican spotted owl.
Per the resolution, the parties have jointly filed for dismissal of the associated injunction with the Court. Once the Judge approves the motion, the injunction that has limited certain timber management activities across the five national forests in New Mexico and on the Tonto National Forest in Arizona over the past year will be dissolved. Forest Service staff will work individually with affected local businesses for plans to resume activities on National Forest System lands.
“The agreement reached today along with the work of the recently established Mexican spotted owl Leadership Forum will increase transparency, communication, and coordination around forest health and wildlife conservation efforts” said Acting Regional Forester Sandy Watts. “The affected forests are eager to resume work on the ground, demonstrating our commitment to conducting sustainable restoration projects in a way that benefits all.”
The resolution contains six parts, including securing funding for continued owl population trend monitoring through 2025, conducting research to better understand the effects of thinning and prescribed burning on owl populations, data sharing, and greater collaboration for conservation of the Mexican spotted owl. For more information visit www.fs.usda.gov/goto/r3/mso.