- The Washington Times - Monday, November 22, 2004

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The northern spotted owl, the bird at the center of the Pacific Northwest logging wars, will stay on the threatened species list.

A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service review said last week that the spotted owl is still declining in number because of wildfires, the West Nile virus and the loss of territory to a more aggressive species, the barred owl.

The spotted owl has been listed as threatened since 1990. To help save it, the Clinton administration in 1994 cut logging by more than 80 percent in the Northwest’s national forests, devastating the region’s timber industry.

The wildlife service arranged for an outside review of the owl’s status in response to a forest-industry lawsuit in 2003.

The review said previous research found that the spotted owl population declined by about 3.7 percent per year from 1985 to 2003, most dramatically in Washington state. The review concluded that the owl is not endangered, a more dire condition requiring greater effort to keep a species from becoming extinct.

The Audubon Society of Portland said further reductions in logging might be needed.

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