March 15, 2011 in Idaho

Forest Service withdraws timber sale near St. Joe River basin

Staff Reports
 

The U.S. Forest Service has withdrawn a timber sale near Clarkia, Idaho, that included clear-cuts in the St. Joe River basin.

The Bussel 484 sale will be reissued with additional analysis on how the timber harvest would affect pileated woodpeckers, northern goshawks and other indicator species for old-growth habitat, said Jason Kirchner, a spokesman for the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.

The 2,100-acre sale was challenged by The Lands Council of Spokane. In August, a federal court ruling halted the sale. The Forest Service had appealed that decision in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals but opted to drop the appeal Friday based on a recent court ruling in Montana, Kirchner said. In the Montana ruling, the Forest Service was ordered to reassess grazing plans for 48,000 acres in southwest Montana to better describe effects on wildlife.

Forest Service officials said the Bussel 484 sale’s timber harvest would have mimicked natural wildfires. In court documents, The Lands Council argued that the agency failed to assess the timber sale’s effect on animals that use old-growth habitat.


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