Cascadia Wildlands v. Thrailkill, No. 14-35819 (9th Cir. 2015)Annotate this Case
Cascadia appealed from the district court's denial of their motion seeking to enjoin the Douglas Fire Complex Recovery Project in the southern Oregon Klamath Mountains. Cascadia conceded that the Service identified the relevant scientific data but argues that compliance with the Endangered Species Act (ESA), 16 U.S.C. 1536(a)(3), requires more than merely restating the scientific data. In view of the deference owed to the agency’s determination, and the record evidence of reliable data, the court concluded that the district court’s rejection of Cascadia’s challenge was not an abuse of discretion, legally erroneous, or factually erroneous. The record reflects that the Service indeed relied upon the data of several surveys from an array of surveyors regarding the effect that barred owls have on the spotted owl. Further, the record does not support a finding that the Service failed to use the best available scientific information regarding the effect the wildfire had on the spotted owl’s habitat use, or a finding that the Service’s conclusions were arbitrary. Finally, the court rejected Cascadia's contention that the Service failed to adequately utilize the best scientific information necessary to ensure spotted owl recovery when evaluating the Project and rendering its jeopardy determination. The court affirmed the judgment.