Breakthrough clears way for thinning projects

Breakthrough clears way for thinning projects

July 28, 2020
Payson Roundup

A breakthrough agreement allows free forest thinning projects to proceed without fear of a lawsuit on behalf of the endangered Mexican spotted owl.

The Forest Service has come to an agreement with several environmental groups who feared the thinning projects lacked a good plan to keep logging from finishing off the small owl, which nest in old-growth forest patches.

The “understanding” prompted the Center for Biological Diversity and the WildEarth Guardians to drop objections and lawsuits that had prompted a federal judge to put thinning projects on hold in Arizona and New Mexico.

The agreement will clear the way for the award of contracts to thin overgrown forest areas on the Tonto National Forest and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests in Arizona, plus four national forests in New Mexico and portions of California. The Black River Restoration Project in the White Mountains was one project halted by an earlier court order.

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