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Appeals court upholds critical habitat designation for Mexican spotted owl

June 8, 2010 |  7:44 pm

Spottedowl PHOENIX — An appeals court says a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to designate 8.6 million acres in four Western states as critical habitat for an endangered owl will stand.

Friday's decision by a panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a 2008 ruling by a federal judge in Phoenix.

The ruling found that critical habitat in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico for the Mexican spotted owl was designated correctly.

The Arizona Cattle Growers' Assn. argued that the government incorrectly designated lands as "occupied" by the owl and improperly analyzed the economic impacts of its actions.

The designation is aimed at protecting the habitat from activities that remove forest cover, including logging, cattle grazing, urban sprawl or power lines.

RELATED CONSERVATION NEWS:
Canadian province of Alberta lists its grizzly bears as threatened
White-tailed prairie dog denied Endangered Species Act protections

-- Associated Press

Photo: A Mexican spotted owl, which can be distinguished from other spotted owls by its dark eyes. Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

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