by Shelby Sebens | Northwest Watchdog
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is busy in the Pacific Northwest.
From making plans to shoot barred owls to hiring a new officer to protect killer whales, the organization’s officials aren’t slowing down. The service announced last month its plans to kill the barred owl in an attempt to save the northern spotted owl.
This is the latest grasp at saving the endangered species after decades of restrictions on timber harvesting in Oregon, Washington and California failed to save the bird and helped dwindle the mill industry.
“We can’t ignore the mounting evidence that competition from barred owls is a major factor in the northern spotted owl’s decline, along with habitat loss,” Service Director Dan Ashe said in a press release. “We are working with our partners to improve forest health and support sustainable economic opportunities for local communities, and this experimental removal will help us determine whether managing the barred owl population also helps recover the northern spotted owl.”
According to Fox News, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department plans to hire an enforcement officer to help protect the killer whale — to the tune of $925,000 over three years. The money is coming from a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grant.
Officials with Freedom Foundation, a Washington state based free-market think tank, worry the growing power of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could become a concern for property owners. Glen Morgan, a property rights director for the foundation, writes about concerns over a new slug counting project that will determine if the creatures need to be listed as endangered species.
“After experiencing the Spotted Owl fiasco, many people are concerned that this process will result in additional layers of property restrictions,” Morgan writes.
Read more here about Morgan’s concerns over growing regulations made by the service.
Contact Shelby Sebens at [email protected]
Northwest Watchdog is a project of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity