For Immediate Release, April 1, 2009
Contact: Jay Lininger, (928) 853-9929, firstname.lastname@example.org
Appeal Challenges Timber Sale North of Grand Canyon
to Protect Imperiled Goshawk
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz.— The Center for Biological Diversity yesterday filed an appeal challenging the U.S. Forest Service for its failure to protect northern goshawk in a 26,000-acre timber sale north of the Grand Canyon. The Jacob Ryan timber sale, approved by the Kaibab National Forest in February, will remove larger trees than necessary to reduce fire hazard and leave a more open forest than is allowed to protect habitat for the sensitive northern goshawk. The Kaibab Plateau hosts the largest breeding goshawk population in the lower 48 states, but past logging in the forest removed large areas of habitat.
The appeal states that the Forest Service violated the National Forest Management Act and National Environmental Policy Act by failing to provide sufficient forest canopy and mature tree structure necessary for northern goshawk habitat as is required by the Kaibab National Forest’s Land and Resource Management Plan. It describes additional violations of the National Environmental Policy Act for failure to analyze cumulative impacts associated with the 58,000-acre Warm Fire and salvage logging proposed therein — both located adjacent to the Jacob Ryan timber sale.
“Canopy reductions and large tree logging in the Jacob Ryan timber sale violates goshawk protections set forth in the Kaibab National Forest’s own forest plan,” said Jay Lininger, an ecologist with the Center for Biological Diversity in Flagstaff. “Our appeal seeks a valid restoration project that conserves large trees and sensitive goshawk habitat while removing enough small trees to safely restore beneficial fires to the landscape.”
The Jacob Ryan timber sale is the second timber sale in northern Arizona to violate habitat requirements for northern goshawk codified in standards and guidelines common to all Arizona and New Mexico national forest plans. In 2007 the Center for Biological Diversity successfully challenged the first of those timber sales, the Jack Smith timber sale on the Coconino National Forest, causing a withdrawal and re-design of the sale. Both projects are based on faulty and illegal administrative interpretations of the forest plan standards and guidelines.
“Forest plans were written to be followed, not violated,” said Lininger. “There’s no reason that we can’t safely restore fire while protecting habitat for sensitive species in accordance with the law. Doing otherwise only begs challenges and wastes everyone’s time.