SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) -- Over the objections of the U.S. Forest Service, wildlife officials in California are taking steps to protect a rare woodpecker.
That's partly because the federal agency won't stop logging the bird's ever-shrinking habitat in burned stands of national forests
in the Sierra Nevada.
The California State Fish and Game Commission recently voted to add the black-backed woodpecker to the list of species that are
candidates for protection.
Commissioner Michael Sutton says there's a possibility that the woodpecker could be listed as threatened.
The Forest Service had designated the black-backed as the indicator species for all fish and wildlife dependent on burned
forests across the Sierra.
But Sutton says it has become clear "they now permit, under relevant forest management plans, 100 percent salvage logging of burned areas, which is the preferred habitat of this species." Forest Service officials say there is no evidence that the bird's population itself is actually in a state of decline.
Forest Service official Randall Moore has presented the state commission with a memo questioning the "degree and immediacy" of the threat to the black-backed from Forest Service practices.
The Associated Press