By Katy Nesbitt
WesCom News Service
La Grande - An appeals court decision is forcing the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to create more protection for elk within the 29,000-acre Snow Basin logging project area.
A lawsuit filed in 2012 sought protection for not only elk, but also endangered bull trout. The appeals court upheld the Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife's decision that there is sufficient data proving bull trout were extirpated from the streams within the project area decades ago and further protection measures were unnecessary. However, the court did order the Forest to provide supplemental information that would ensure protection for elk from vehicular travel.
Baker County intervened in the case, siding with the Forest.
"I was disappointed that the Ninth Circuit reversed their decision," Fred Warner Jr., Baker County Board of Commissioners Chairman, said Thursday. "Hopefully the Forest Service can do a supplemental environmental impact statement and get everything going."
See more in the May 16 issue of the Baker City Herald.