Thursday, December 10, 2009

Remove some birds to save threatened birds?

Yesterday, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service requested public input on the potential effects of removing Barred Owls from three areas in Oregon and Washington to control their predation on northern Spotted Owls, a threatened subspecies (Strix occidentalis caurina) on the federal Endangered Species List.

U.S. FWS specifically asks: What are the biological, social, economic and environmental effects that should be studied before the agency decides whether to conduct the experiments?

Information and comments must be identified with "barred owl EIS" and arrive no later than Jan. 11, addressed to Field Supervisor, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 S.E. 98th Ave. Suite 100, Portland OR 97266 or faxed to 503-231-6195.

“We will decide whether to conduct experimental removal of barred owls only after this open, transparent review of the effects those experiments might have,” said Paul Henson, the Fish and Wildlife Service supervisor in Oregon. “Removing individuals of a common species to benefit a species in peril is something the Fish and Wildlife Service does when necessary, but we will not proceed with this experimental removal until we better understand – and document – the environmental effects of doing it.”

“Further,” he said, “we want to be very clear that this environmental review and decision process only applies to scientific experiments on the effects of removal. If we learn enough from the experiments we will begin another decision process, complete with additional public review and input, before we would decide whether to control barred owls as a management strategy.”
The U.S. FWS press release points out that northern Spotted Owl lives in forests from British Columbia to western Washington, Oregon and northern California. Compare the subspecies' limited range with that of Barred Owl (using the link in the first paragraph).

Barred Owls cover much more of the continent than northern Spotted Owls do. Does that make it easier to consider removing Barreds from the northerns' range??

Spotted Owl courtesy of L.A. Times

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Blogger OpposableChums said...

Wow, that's virtually Solomonic. There are so many aspects to take into consideration. Are we interfering with a Darwinian process if we removed the Barred Owls? But do we just let an endangered species go extinct if we don't?

December 10, 2009 2:03 PM  

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