Beyond Minnesota: To save spotted owls, officials plan to kill thousands of barred owls in West Coast forests – Outdoor News

Washington (AP) — To save the imperiled spotted owl from potential extinction, U.S. wildlife officials are embracing a contentious plan to deploy trained shooters into dense West Coast forests to kill almost a half-million barred owls that are crowding out their cousins.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service strategy released last week is meant to prop up declining spotted owl populations in Oregon, Washington state, and California.

Documents released by the agency show up to about 450,000 barred owls would be shot over three decades after the birds from the eastern U.S. encroached into the West Coast territory of two owls: northern spotted owls and California spotted owls. The smaller spotted owls have been unable to compete with the invaders, which have large broods and need less room to survive than spotted owls.

See more about this topic on Page 3 of this edition of Outdoor News.


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Officers Kill Three Coyotes After Attack on Girl

San Francisco (AP) — Wildlife officers shot and killed three coyotes at the San Francisco Botanical Garden in late June after a coyote attacked a 5-year-old girl, authorities said.

Two coyotes were shot June 29 and one was shot June 30, said Patrick Foy, a spokesperson for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A coyote bit the 5-year-old June 28 while the girl was playing during a supervised summer camp visit at the garden within Golden Gate Park. The girl was treated for the bite wound at a hospital, her mother, Helen Sparrow, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

“If a coyote or bear or mountain lion attacks a person, those animals are euthanized, and we conduct a rabies test on them post-mortem and take DNA samples,” Foy said.

The garden reopened July 1 after being closed following the attack. Sparrow told the Chronicle that her daughter had begun to run but tripped and the coyote “bit her on the bum when she was down.”

Doctors stitched up the bite wound and administered a rabies vaccine, although they told Sparrow that coyotes rarely test positive for rabies, the Chronicle reported.


U.S. Gives Approval for Atlantic Shores offshore wind farm

Atlantic City, N.J. (AP) — The U.S. Interior Department approved the proposed Atlantic Shores offshore wind farm in New Jersey on July 2, giving a major boost to a project that would be the state’s first.

The project still requires an additional federal approval of its construction and operations plan, along with two state-level permits, before construction can begin.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said the department’s decision marked the ninth offshore wind project approved under the Biden administration, green-lighting 13 gigawatts of electricity, enough to power 5 million homes.

The project, consisting of two phases, would be built between Atlantic City and Long Beach Island in southern New Jersey. It would generate 2,800 megawatts, enough to power 1 million homes.

Opponents of offshore wind are well organized and vocal in New Jersey, and one of several groups against the plan, Protect Our Coast-NJ, said the federal and state governments “are forging ahead like a bull in a China shop, hurting overburdened communities and our incredible ocean with unwanted industrial construction projects.”

Atlantic Shores, which was given preliminary approval in 2021 by New Jersey utility regulators, has now gotten nearly as far as a previously approved project that would have been New Jersey’s first offshore wind farm. Danish wind developer Orsted was close to beginning work on two offshore wind farms but scrapped the project in October 2023 after deciding it would not be economical.

Many of the state’s major environmental groups issued statements praising Atlantic Shores’ approval, saying it proves that offshore wind has regained its footing after the Orsted setback.

The Interior Department approved construction of 195 wind turbines as part of the project; the company had sought up to 200.