Albuquerque, NM – The U.S. Department of Justice, in coordination with USDA Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), filed biological opinions related to the recent court-ordered injunction on select timber management activities on five national forests in New Mexico and on the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. The submission of these biological opinions is in adherence with the court direction on formal consultation requirements between the Forest Service and USFWS related to potential effects of timber activities to the Mexican spotted owl.
“As promised, we have focused on meeting our consultation responsibilities under the Court’s Order as quickly as possible, as we are fully committed to continuing efforts for the recovery of the Mexican spotted owl,” stated Regional Forester Cal Joyner. “We’re encouraged and grateful for the work of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and for the sustained support of our partners and communities across the region, and we are hopeful that these filings will lead to quick relief to the communities affected by the court-ordered injunction.”
In September, the Forest Service received an order from the United States District Court for the District of Arizona stating that the agency’s “timber management” actions must cease on five national forests in New Mexico and on the Tonto National Forest in Arizona pending formal consultation regarding potential effects to the Mexican spotted owl. In October 2019, a modification to the court-ordered injunction allowed for certain timber management activities to resume. The national forests affected by the court’s order remain open to the public for recreation and other activities.
For the most up to date information from the Forest Service, please go to https://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/