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For Immediate Release, November 2, 2009

Contact:  Noah Greenwald, (503) 484-7495

Protection Proposed for Queen Charlotte Goshawk in Canada, But Not Alaska

JUNEAU, Alaska— In response to a petition and multiple lawsuits brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today proposed to protect the Queen Charlotte goshawk as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act in Canada, including Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlotte Islands, and a portion of mainland British Columbia, but continued to refuse to protect the species in Alaska. The goshawk is threatened by logging in the old-growth forests it calls home.

“The Queen Charlotte goshawk should have been protected in both Canada and Alaska,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director for the Center for Biological Diversity. “Whether it’s Canada or Alaska, logging of old-growth forests threatens the goshawk.”

The Center for Biological Diversity first petitioned for protection of the Queen Charlotte goshawk in 1994. A 1995 decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to deny the species protection based on protections promised by the draft Tongass Land Management Plan was overturned by the courts, which determined that Fish and Wildlife should not have relied on draft protections. The agency again denied the species protection in 1997, based on a now-final management plan. This decision was once again overturned by the courts, which concluded that Fish and Wildlife had failed to consider whether Vancouver Island, where the species is clearly endangered, constituted a “significant portion of range.” 

Under the Endangered Species Act, Fish and Wildlife must list species that are threatened in all or a significant portion of their range. Today’s decision responds to the court, but instead of listing the species because of the threats it faces in both Canada and Alaska, the agency has only extended protection in Canada.

“Although the Tongass Land Management Plan was a tremendous step forward, logging remains a severe threat to the species in Alaska,” said Greenwald. “Logging has eliminated a majority of habitat for the goshawk not just in Canada, but also in many areas of Alaska, particularly Prince of Wales Island, where the species is now found in very small numbers.” 

The situation for the goshawk was made considerably worse in 2008, when the Bush administration weakened protections for the goshawk in a revision of the Tongass management plan. This new revision allows more logging in nesting and foraging habitat for goshawks and was not considered by Fish and Wildlife in its decision to deny the goshawk protection in Alaska. 

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