Given all the talk on this blog about monitoring, NFMA diversity, and viability, etc., this recent 9th Circuit Case is another must read (file here: Native ecosystems v_ Tidwell(2)
I found it particularly interesting in light of the presentations focused on wildlife and monitoring at the planning science forum. See e.g., presentations by Sam Cushman and Kevin McKelvey.
Here is a short summary of the case. And here is a quote from it, sure to rabble the rousers:
“We do not share our dissenting colleague’s perception that the Forest Service can meet its obligations to the environment by naming a virtually non-existent species to serve as a proxy for critical habitat in the targeted area. Far from usurping the agency’s role, our opinion holds the agency to its statutory responsibility to fully study the effects of the planned agency action, and ‘to maintain viable populations of existing species.’ It is unfathomable how the FS could meet its responsibility to maintain existing species by selected as a proxy a species that is virtually non-existent in the targeted area.
I also find the case interesting because it shows an unwillingness of the Court to defer to the USFS on these matters, despite all the ruckus created by Lands Council v. McNair, 2008).