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CENTER for BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY Because life is good
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Action timeline

July 1991 – The Center filed a petition to list the northern goshawk as endangered west of the 100th meridian.

June 25, 1992 – The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service denied the petition on technical, taxonomic grounds. Against the recommendation of the Service’s own biologists, agency bureaucrats argued that since the western population contains three subspecies (Queen Charlotte, northern, and Apache) it does not qualify as a “population” according to the agency's policy.

1995 – The Center sued to overturn the denial.

February 22, 1996 – A federal judge ruled that the denial was arbitrary and capricious — The Service issued another decision, again denying listing on taxonomic grounds. and illegal. The court ordered the Service to issue a second decision.

June 26, 1996 – The Service issued another decision, again denying listing on taxonomic grounds.

November 14, 1996 – The Center filed another suit to overturn this denial.

1997 – The same judge overturned the Service’s second denial. Federal judge Richard Bilby repeatedly chided the agency for bowing to political pressure and contradicting the conclusions of its own biologists. He ordered a new decision.

June 29, 1998 – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refused to list the goshawk as endangered in the western United States.

1999 – The Center sued again. Meanwhile, its western goshawk campaign sought to save all three goshawks from extinction by permanently ending all old-growth logging in western states.

Mid-1990s to 2000s – In response to the Center’s efforts to list the northern goshawk as an endangered species, the Forest Service developed landscape-level forest protection guidelines for the goshawk on more than 30 million acres of forest in New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, South Dakota, and Alaska.

September 5, 2000 – As part of the efforts mentioned above, the Center filed suit against the Forest Service challenging a 1996 Environmental Impact Statement that established a regional goshawk plan on 11 national forests. We asserted that the plan failed to use the best available science showing that goshawks need more old-growth forest and canopy cover than the guidelines allowed. We won the suit on appeal, requiring the Forest Service to go back, reanalyze the plan, and issue a new, more protective Environmental Impact Statement.

June 24, 2003 – The Center challenged a backdoor effort by the timber industry to strike down old-growth forest protection guidelines instituted by the Clinton administration. While ostensibly designed to ensure that information distributed by the U.S. government is accurate, the Quality of Information Act was being used by the timber industry to demand that the Bush administration withdraw forest-protection decisions and the scientific reports underpinning the protection of mature and old-growth forests from Alaska to New Mexico.

March 9, 2004 – The Center and five other groups petitioned the Forest Service to protect the northern goshawk and its mature and old-growth forest habitats. The petition included all national forests in Idaho, Montana, and western Wyoming. Besides goshawk protections, the petition also recommended forest-wide protections for all remaining roadless areas of more than 1,000 acres and all remnant old-growth forest stands.

August 22, 2008 – After strong objections from the Center and allies, the Cococino National Forest issued a decision abandoning a controversial 2007 wildlife rule in a timber sale near Flagstaff, Arizona, the first time the agency tried implementing the rule. The 2007 rule, or “goshawk guidelines,” would have rewritten a 1996 rule and weakened protections for goshawk habitat in 11 national forests throughout Arizona and New Mexico.

September 9, 2008 – A coalition of conservation groups, including the Center, filed suit against the Bush administration over weak forest-management plans that threaten wildlife in 10 Sierra Nevada national forests, including the northern goshawk.

April 1, 2009 – The Center filed an appeal challenging  the U.S. Forest Service for its failure to protect the northern goshawk in a 26,000-acre timber sale in the Kaibab National Forest north of the Grand Canyon.

May 26, 2009 – The Kaibab National Forest reversed its approval of the Jacob Ryan timber sale, admitting in a letter that its decision and analysis violated forest-plan requirements to maintain goshawk habitat.

October 16, 2009 – The Kaibab National Forest issued a revised environmental assessment for the 26,000-acre Jacob Ryan timber sale — slightly different from its 2008 proposal. The analysis dropped protections for old-growth trees.

September 2012 – Despite urging from the Center to protect the Kaibab and its creatures from all environmental threats, the Kaibab National Forest released a plan exposing thousands of acres of public forest north of Grand Canyon — including habitat for the northern goshawk — to destructive off-road vehicle use.

Photo © Robin Silver