July 2, 2012
KLCC by Rachael McDonald
The Oregon Department of Forestry has suspended operations on 10 timber sales. A lawsuit brought by conservation groups says the logging imperils a federally listed seabird. Four conservation groups are suing Oregon to halt timber sales on the Elliot, Clatsop and Tillamook State Forests.
Josh Laughlin with Cascadia Wildlands says ODF's current methods are depleting habitat for the Marbled Murrelet, which nests in coastal forests.
Laughlin: "Their rampant clearcutting and chemical spraying program is continuing to push this species closer to the brink of extinction."
Laughlin says these methods are unlawful under the Endangered Species Act. He hopes Federal Judge Ann Aiken will agree. Laughlin says logging can be done in a more careful way so the murrelet's nesting sites are preserved.
Kevin Weeks is with ODF. He says the agency is preparing their defense of the lawsuit.
Weeks: "The Department of Forestry has adopted a rigorous set of wildlife management policies and procedures which include both extensive and intensive surveying for marbled murrelets and where we find those habitat areas extensive site protection measures."
Laughlin counters that the state leaves only postage-stamp size forest patches around the bird's habitat. The conservation groups have filed a preliminary injunction motion to keep the state from going forward with its logging plans. The hearing will take place in Portland Federal Court in the coming weeks.
To listen to the story, click here.