Groups seek protection for unique Oregon
Four conservation groups are seeking federal protection for a
unique species of salamander that lives in the Klamath-Siskiyou
region of southern Oregon and northern California.
The petition filed with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Monday said increasing logging of old-growth forests is
threatening the Siskiyou Mountains salamander, The Capital Press
The petition by Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological
Diversity, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Environmental
Protection Information Center said the a long-bodied,
short-limbed terrestrial salamander deserves immediate
protection under the Endangered Species Act.
"Increased logging of mature forests in the Applegate Valley
could jeopardize the very survival of the salamander," said
George Sexton with KS Wild.
Two timber industry groups issued a joint statement against the
petition. The Oregon Forest Industries Council and American
Forest Resource Council accused the groups of overwhelming
federal agencies with petitions and litigation, The Press
The Siskiyou Mountains salamander lives only in isolated
locations along the Klamath River, on stabilized rock talus in
old-growth forests covered with thick moss.
Conservationists first filed a petition seeking federal
protection for the salamander in 2004. After a series of
lawsuits, the federal agency said in 2007 that a listing may be
warranted and it initiated a status review. In 2008, the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service found the salamander wasn't at risk of
become extinct currently or within the foreseeable future.
The federal government later developed a conservation strategy
to protect habitat for 110 salamander sub-populations on federal
lands in the Applegate River watershed in southwest Oregon.
But environmental groups say that a revised plan by the Bureau
of Land Management for 2.5 million acres of forestland in 2016
will substantially increase logging in the region and undermine
protections for the salamander.
Josh Laughlin, executive director of Cascadia Wildlands based in
Eugene, Oregon, said the BLM's decision shrinks buffers in half
for logging along streams and does away with the policy
requiring timber planners to look for salamanders before cutting
in their habitat.
"It's clearly going to have a detrimental effect on the
remaining population of Siskiyou salamanders," Laughlin said.
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