Conservation organization to appear as amicus curiae
451 McCormick Road
Coraopolis, PA 15108
November 30, 2006
For Immediate Release
Coraopolis, PA — In what can be viewed as the first step in the struggle to provide better ruffed grouse and woodcock habitat in the Superior National Forest, the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, recently granted the Ruffed Grouse Society’s (RGS) request to appear as amicus curiae in support of the US Forest Service and US Department of Agriculture to defend against litigation against the Forest Service’s “Forest Plan”.
Initiated by the Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness, and Northeasetern Minnesotans for Wilderness the law suit seeks to stop the new Forest Plan for the Superior National Forest located in northeast Minnesota.
The aim of the litigation is to stop the agency’s plans for future timber harvesting in favor of additional wilderness. The environmentalists claim that aspen clear-cutting and other logging, which will benefit ruffed grouse, American woodcock and 43 species of neo-tropical songbirds, in the Superior National Forest will negatively impact not only the Superior but the adjacent Boundary Waters Wilderness Area. Environmentalist plan to use this lawsuit as an attempt to stall implementation of the proposed plan until a new administration is in place that will hopefully, in their view, reverse the plan in favor of additional wilderness protections.
Environmentalists have lodged the same complaints on the new forest plans in Michigan’s Forests, the Hiawatha, Ottawa, and Huron-Manistee.
“The new Plan does not provide everything we would like as far as habitat goes. However, the environmentalists are seeking to stop virtually all management on the forest through their challenge. “We think this claim is flawed primarily because additional young forest habitat will actually benefit wildlife that relies on young or “early-successional” forests for food and cover” said, RGS lead attorney Ryan L. Woody.
“We also believe that through the RGS’s support, the Court will be able to see that the Forest Service has adequately balanced concerns from both sides in creating the new plan, and, ultimately, uphold the implementation of the new plan,” Woody said.
“While the Ruffed Grouse Society has some serious concerns of its own about the proposed plan, inasmuch as we feel it doesn’t go far enough in creating early-forest habitat, the plan will provide additional acres for aspen regeneration or young forest habitat, which is essential to the survival of ruffed grouse, American woodcock and more than 80 species of wildlife,” said Dr. Michael Zagata, RGS CEO and Executive Director.
Established in 1961, the Ruffed Grouse Society is the one international wildlife conservation organization dedicated to promoting conditions suitable for ruffed grouse, American woodcock and related wildlife to sustain our sport hunting tradition and outdoor heritage.
Information on the RGS, its mission, management projects and membership can be found on the web at: www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.
Contact: Ryan L. Woody, Esq.
Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C.
1111 East Sumner Street
P.O. Box 270670
Hartford, WI 53027-0670
Telephone.: (262) 673-7850
Facsimile: (262) 673-3766