This blog has featured a number of posts regarding Spotted Owls for the past 2+ years:
On Friday the AFRC Newsletter was distributed by email and featured a short editorial regarding spotted owls by Ross Mickey of the American Forests Resource Council (AFRC):
Although Ross is supporting an idea called the Social Services Support Zone (yup,aka “SSSZ”), it is some of his comments regarding spotted owls — and their enormous economic cost to US citizens — that are most chilling. If true, of course. Most of the economic information is given in tables that I couldn’t figure out how to post, so you’ll have to use the PDF link to see them. They cover every NF with designated spotted owl “habitat,” and what that habitat costs in terms of foregone sales and incomes to local citizens of counties containing these lands.
I’ve reprinted the text from Mickey’s editorial below (yes, I know either he or Spellcheck misspelled “principles”), but I recommend visiting the tables he has put together in relation to the economic cost of these animals. Also, some of you may be more interested in the SSSZ concept in relation to NSOs and NGO’s, so there’s that, too.
Social Services Support Zones
The northern spotted owl is the driving force behind the collapse of dozens of timber dependent rural communities across the northwest, devastating local governments and drastically reducing the basic social services these governments can provide. Despite setting aside millions of acres for the owl, its numbers continue to decline because it is being overtaken by its larger cousin, the barred owl, by a ratio of 4 to 1. Without a massive effort to reduce the barred owl population (which the public will not allow), the spotted owl population will continue to decline no matter how many acres are dedicated to it.
The FWS has dictated that any area that spotted owls have used in the last 25 years need to be protected even if spotted owls have not used them for decades. They also dictate that areas that might support spotted owls need to be protected even though no spotted owl has ever used them. These are called “predicted” owl sites. The FWS estimates there are about 3,800 “known” sites and an undisclosed number of “predicted” sites. Most of these sit es are not being used by the spotted owl because they are infested with barred owls. Each one of these vacant protected areas contain billions of dollars worth of timber that could be dedicated to supporting local communities rather than barred owls.
[First Table] Below is the estimated total volume and value of spotted owl sites listed by each national forest.
[Second Table] The table below shows the annual volume and value production of these owls sites if they were managed under the principals [sic] of long-term sustained yield.
The Willamette for example, has 618 known sites and 124 predicated sites where spotted owls have never been known to exist. Of these 124 predicted sites, 46 are outside of Congressionally withdrawn areas. If these 46 predicted sites were classified as Social Services Support Zones (SSSZ’s) for the purpose of supporting local governments, $2,187,202,848 ( yes, that’s 2 billion!!) could be generated from the first harvest and provide a long term sustainable income of $46,487,524 per year forever.
Every national forest and BLM District is protecting predicted owl sites. I believe that protecting our rural communities is far more important than protecting virtual, computer generated predicted owl sites, and we should dedicate these lands to them the same way the FWS is dedicating them to only support barred owls.