Friday, August 19, 2005

Doing it right for critters backfires

Friday, August 19, 2005

There’s more than a bit of irony when you look back to how Oregon Coast Range Conifers came to own a 40-acre tract of timber near Waldport that contains an eagle nest tree.

The story began with the Endangered Species Act listing of two other critters, the Northern spotted owl and marbled murlette. Sara Leinman, who manages timberland for her family, said a 150-acre tract up the Yachats River contained both owl and murlette habitat. To protect it, the family proposed trading that habitat to Siuslaw National Forest for timberland that could be actively managed.

Three parcels came to Oregon Coast Conifers from the trade completed in 1996. Timber harvest plans went forward, “Then somebody saw an eagle up there,” Leinman said.

By the time it was over, not only did the state insist there be no logging within 400 feet of the eagle tree, it also insisted half the mature trees remain standing for the next 100 feet.

Leinman said the added 100-foot buffer zone was too difficult to explain in the lawsuit decided last week, “so we just left it out” of the claim for damages that was rejected by the Oregon Supreme Court.

“If we had logged off our Yachats pieces” (instead of trading them) this never would have happened, Leinman said.


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