The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today declared the rare northern spotted owl to be a threatened species, but said it was briefly holding up a specific plan for protection because of concern for thousands of logging jobs in the Northwest.
Members of Congress were informed that the bird will receive protection under the Endangered Species Act effective July 23.
An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 pairs of spotted owl survive in the ancient forests of Washington, Oregon and Northern California. An Interior Department study has estimated that protecting the owl would curtail logging over millions of acres and cost as many as 28,000 logging jobs over the next decade.