WildEarth Guardians

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Victory for the Mexican Spotted Owl

WildEarth Guardians v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service et al.
Case No.
Date Filed
March 12, 2013
State, Venue
Arizona, Arizona Federal District Court
Steve Sugarman
Guardians sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service for violating the ESA for Biological Opinions associated with multiple Forest Plans that failed to adequately assess impacts to the Mexican Spotted Owl (MSO) because the “no jeopardy” determination is not based on the best available science, which shows that MSO populations have been steadily decreasing since the MSO was listed.

The Court ruled in Guardians favor on one issue–that Fish & Wildlife Service’s no jeopardy determination for the MSO was arbitrary because the Service failed to account for MSO recovery; the Service only analyzed whether the timber projects would impact MSO continued existence.  The court enjoined Forest Service timber management actions in Region 3 national forests until the Service and Forest Service complete formal consultation and issue a new biological opinion.