For decades the U.S. Forest Service and BLM has been seeking out and cutting large dead trees in Federal forests to prevent areas from being listed as critical habitat for endangered species. This may be an intentional civil and criminal violation of the Endangered Species Act.
Listing Critical Habitat Compels Agencies To Not Destroy That Habitat
When a species is proposed for listing as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) must consider whether there are areas of habitat believed to be essential to the species’ conservation: spotted owl, marten, fisher, grey whale, etc. Those areas may be proposed for designation as critical habitat. A designation requires Federal agencies to ensure that actions they plan to undertake, fund, or authorize do not destroy or adversely modify that habitat. Even private or other landowners must amend their projects to proceed without adversely modifying the critical habitat.[!]
Federal Agency Staff, And Contractors Are Complicit
It is an intentional act to seek out and cut large diameter dead trees to prevent them from becoming spotted owl and other endanger species habitat. Annual census of known spotted owl trees are conducted. Owls must be seen living in the trees. If the owls are scared off by nearby clear-cutting, road building, or the tree is downed, the habitat is delisted as critical and may now be clear-cut. If there are no potential habitat trees, owls are prevented from moving into an area.
This is an intentional act. Cutting large diameter dead trees is being conducted on gated locked Forest Service and BLM lands. Only staff and contractors can access these areas with vehicles. Not during clear-cuts, the trees are found, cut and left. Small diameter non-habitat trees are skipped.
I live in Oregon where more than half of the 11,000 Endangered Spotted Owls live. We have one mile of road for every square mile of Federal land. Staff comb these areas to cut large snags. Above are just a few of the snags cut in Southern Oregon. Fuel reduction crews target large snags. I don’t trail run with a camera, so there are many more I have seen not shown here.
In Canada in 2020, the Provence of British Columbia approved 312 new logging clearcuts in habitat of endangered spotted owls. The province refuses to produce a habitat plan for spotted owls that it promised 14 years ago, and a costly program to release captive-bred owls into the wild has come to naught.[@]
These May Be Civil And Criminal Acts
Because it is Agency policy to eliminate endangered species habitat on gated Federal land, these acts are intentional. The net affect increased strangulation of critical habitat is the reduction of endangered species populations by 80 percent over the next 30 years.[#] Therefore, these acts are a violation of the Endanger Species Act. Prohibited Acts. Section 9. (a) General. (2)(B) and other provisions. For example:
…It is unlawful for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the United States to … (B) remove and reduce to possession any such species from areas under Federal jurisdiction; maliciously damage or destroy any such species on any such area; or remove, cut, dig up, or damage or destroy any such species on any other area in knowing violation of any law or regulation of any State or in the course of any violation of a State criminal trespass law.
These intentional acts are in violation of the Purpose of the Endangered Species Act. Section 2. (b) Purpose: The purposes of this Act are to provide a means whereby the ecosystems upon which endangered species and threatened species depend may be conserved, to provide a program for the conservation of such endangered species and threatened species…
Therefore U.S. Forest Service staff, BLM staff, and related private contractors are subject to both civil and criminal penalties. Section 11. (a) Civil Penalties: section 9 of this Act, may be assessed a civil penalty by the Secretary of not more than $ 25,000 for each violation. (b) Criminal Violations. (1) Any person who knowingly violates any provision of any other regulation issued under this Act shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $25,000 or imprisoned for not more than six months, or both.
Build The Case To Prosecute Corrupt Public Officials and Contractors
Remember, The U.S. Forest Service, the BLM, and the Canadian Forest Service are largely public arms of private industry. They job is to dole out as much resources as private industry demands with as little regulation as possible. Federal Agencies are largely blind to conversation of old-growth forests, endangered species, and wild fisheries unless their feet are held to the fire by the law, and we the people.
Forestry officials will explain selectively cutting a few large dead trees as fire prevention. This is a ridicules statement since they leave the rest of the tree-farmed, mono-aged, over-densely-planted, not-really-a-forest as the real fire hazard.