For Immediate Release, November 8, 2007
Contact: Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495
Queen Charlotte Goshawk Granted Protection as
Endangered Species in Canada, But Not Alaska
JUNEAU, Alaska— In response to a petition first filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups in 1994 and multiple court orders since that time, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service determined today that the Queen Charlotte goshawk warrants protection as an endangered species in Canada, but not in Alaska. The Service determined that logging has eliminated roughly half the goshawk’s habitat rangewide and that habitat is expected to continue to decline, at least in the short-term, but claimed that the Tongass Land Management Plan — which is in the process of being revised and likely weakened — provided sufficient protection to ensure the goshawk’s survival.
“The Queen Charlotte goshawk has finally received the protection it deserves in Canada,” stated Noah Greenwald, conservation biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The goshawk should also have been protected in Alaska, however, where logging is also a serious threat to its survival.”
In deciding to protect the goshawk in Canada only, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined that southeast Alaska and British Columbia each qualify as “distinct population segments” allowing the agency to make separate decisions on listing the species in the two areas. In doing so, however, the Service never determined whether the Queen Charlotte goshawk should be protected as a species because it is endangered in all or a significant portion of its range, which is a direct violation of the Endangered Species Act.
“The Fish and Wildlife Service’s piecemeal approach to determining the status of the Queen Charlotte goshawk runs counter to the Endangered Species Act and common sense,” said Greenwald. “The goshawk is threatened by logging over the majority of its range and should have been protected in both Canada and Alaska.”
In Canada, the Fish and Wildlife Service determined that the lack of protection from past and ongoing logging placed the goshawk’s survival in question. In Alaska, however, the agency determined that although logging has led to substantial habitat loss, particularly on Prince of Whales Island, the Tongass Land Management Plan protects enough area to ensure the species’ survival. Unfortunately, the Bush administration is in the process of revising the plan and will likely reduce protections for the goshawk.
“Given that the Bush administration is in the process of weakening protections for the goshawk on the Tongass National Forest, Fish and Wildlife’s decision to not protect the species in Alaska fails to rely on the best available information and will likely end up back in court,” said Greenwald.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a nonprofit conservation organization with more than 35,000 members dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.