November 5 Spotted Owl Conversation

November 5 Spotted Owl Conversation by Linda Blum, at 11:01 a.m. on 9 November 2008,

I'd like to correct a misimpression that was cast in last Wednesday's SNAMP meeting in Sacramento. It was reported that the Eldorado Spotted Owl Density Study Area includes a "checkerboard" land ownership pattern that intermixes national forest and Sierra Pacific Industries timberlands.

I came home from the meeting and checked with a QLG member who works for SPI, and he confirmed that the private lands in the Eldorado density study area do not belong to SPI, except perhaps 2,000 acres in the northeast corner of the 87,000-acre Density Study Area.

I find it odd that the "control" owl sites in this study lie on the checkerboarded lands, where literally half the landscape is and has been actively harvested for a long time.

The premise of the SNAMP owl study is that habitat alterations caused by 2004 Framework timber harvests/fuels treatments will be detrimental to spotted owls. Yet the "control" landscape is one that has a population of owls spread across it, studied by Dr. Gutierrez and his bands of itinerant wildlife biologists (and I salute you all!) for two decades or more, checkerboarding and timber harvests included.

During last Wednesday's discussion circle, someone asked how the study would account for the effects of activities that have been or are occurring on the private timberlands in the checkerboard. I would suggest that Doug Tempel's slideshow map of owl treatment territories and owl control territories offers a starting point for the answer: the cumulative effects so far have resulted in a well-distributed breeding population spaced such that individuals are capable of intermixing.

Maybe I don't understand the control concept in this application. Can someone please clarify?

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