Oregon to look again at western forest habitat conservation plan

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Department of Forestry have received a $750,000 federal grant to explore the possibility of a habitat conservation plan for state-owned forests west of the Cascades.  HCPs are authorized by §10 of ESA, and they allow the state to obtain an incidental take permit to kill or injure listed species if that happens in accordance with the plan.   The plan would consider species including the spotted owl and marbled murrelet and set guidelines for timber harvesting and recreational use.  A previous attempt to create a plan ended in 2008 without new guidelines being adopted. Without the HCP and permit, harming listed species is illegal for anyone.  “Harm” is defined to include significant habitat modification or degradation which “actually kills or injures fish or wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including, breeding, spawning, rearing, migrating, feeding or sheltering” (50 C.F.R. § 222.102).



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