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USFS Delays Timber Harvest After Owls Spotted In Area

The Forest Service is delaying a timber harvest in the Willamette National Forest. A pair of threatened spotted owls has moved closer to the area slated for logging.

The Seneca Sawmill agreed to pay about a half million dollars to log 150 acres of National Forest land. The harvest was supposed to begin on Monday.

But last week researchers learned that a pair of spotted owls has moved closer to the site.

Forest Service spokeswoman Judy McHugh says the logging contract has been suspended for two months to allow for a study. 

Judy McHugh: "U.S. Fish and Wildlife has to do their analysis and their conclusion about what activity in the area does to individual owls and the owl population as a whole."

The spotted owl pair had been banded as part of a long-term survey. Researchers have found about 150 owls in the Willamette national forest.

The spotted owl population is still declining, despite being listed as a threatened species twenty years ago.

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