For Immediate Release, June 18, 2007
||Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495
Donald Fontenot, Oregon Chapter of Sierra Club, (503) 704-3116
Protection Sought for Dusky Tree Vole Under Endangered Species Act
Center for Biological Diversity Study Finds 215 Species of Concern and Eight Species’ Extinctions in Oregon’s Tillamook Rainforest and North Coast
PORTLAND, Ore.— The Center for Biological Diversity, Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club, Portland Audubon, Cascadia Wildlands Project, and Oregon Wild petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today to protect the dusky tree vole as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. The Center also released an extensive report identifying all known species of concern in the Tillamook Rainforest and North Coast, including a total of 215 species, many of which are critically imperiled.
“Decades of excessive logging, uncontrolled growth, fire, road construction and extensive pollution have placed the survival of the dusky tree vole and literally hundreds of other Tillamook wildlife species at risk,” said Noah Greenwald, conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Without better protection for the forests, streams and coasts of the Tillamook Rainforest and North Coast, the dusky tree vole and dozens of other species will need the strong protections of the Endangered Species Act.”
The dusky tree vole is a subspecies of the red tree vole that is only found in forests of the Tillamook region. Tree voles live nearly their entire lives in trees and are dependent on forest structures typically associated with older, unmanaged forests – features such as broken and forked tree tops, witches’ brooms and large, wide branches. Recent surveys failed to locate the voles in places where they were once common.
“For too long, the Tillamook has been a sacrifice zone for industrial forestry,” said Donald Fontenot, Tillamook issues coordinator for the Oregon Chapter of Sierra Club. “Forest reserves and better forest practices are needed to save the tree vole, salmon and dozens of other wildlife species in the Tillamook.”
To comprehensively assess the full range of species at risk from logging, urbanization, pollution and other causes in the Tillamook Rainforest and North Coast, the Center reviewed dozens of studies along with state, federal and private databases concerning the status of, and threats to, species in these areas. Based on this review, 71 (34 percent) critically imperiled, 77 (37 percent) imperiled, and 58 (29 percent) vulnerable species were identified. The Center also identified eight species that are gone from the Tillamook region, including the grizzly bear, California condor, Columbian white-tailed deer, gray wolf, Pacific fisher, sea otter, sandbar darkling beetle, and small spikebrush. To avoid further extinctions, the Center’s report recommends a number of species in addition to the tree vole be considered for protection under the Endangered Species Act, including the Pacific fisher, chum salmon, six invertebrates and 16 plant and fungi species.
“The Tillamook Rainforest and North Coast are an incredibly rich region of incredible natural beauty,” said Greenwald. “A comprehensive plan similar to the Northwest Forest Plan to protect the region’s forests, rivers, and coastlines is needed to protect the natural heritage of this unique area for future generations.”