- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Wildlife officials were wrong to grant a company permission to harm threatened species in California while logging private land, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins invalidated incidental take permits for the northern spotted owl and a population of coho salmon that federal officials granted to Fruit Growers Supply Co. The permits applied to more than 150,000 acres of company land in Siskiyou County.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wrongly factored conservation efforts by the U.S. Forest Service into Fruit Growers’ plan to mitigate its effect on the spotted owl, Cousins said in the ruling Friday.

The National Marine Fisheries Service should have evaluated the timber operations’ short-term effects on coho salmon, he added.

“We received the order late on Friday night and are still reviewing it. The court has requested further briefing and set a further hearing, so we do not yet know the final outcome,” Fruit Growers Supply said in an email.

A Fish and Wildlife spokesman said the agency does not comment on pending litigation. A fisheries spokesman declined to comment.

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