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Feds to Designate 9.6 Million Acres as Critical Habitat for Spotted Owl

Jeff Barnard, Associated Press

GRANTS PASS, Oregon — The last building block of the Obama administration’s strategy, to keep the northern spotted owl from extinction, nearly doubles the amount of Northwest national forest land dedicated to protecting the bird by the Bush administration four years ago.

Still, conservation groups that went to court to force the overhaul said key gaps remain, such as an exemption for private forest lands and most state forests.

The full critical habitat plan will not be published until next week, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that 9.6 million acres of Oregon, Washington and Northern California will come under its provisions, almost all of it federal lands.

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