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Timber sale scaled back to protect Red-shouldered hawk

WAUSAU (AP) -- An environmental group and the U.S. Forest Service reached an agreement to scale back a timber sale in northern Wisconsin to protect nearly 1,500 acres of forest that provide habitat for some threatened red-shouldered hawks, author...

WAUSAU (AP) -- An environmental group and the U.S. Forest Service reached an agreement to scale back a timber sale in northern Wisconsin to protect nearly 1,500 acres of forest that provide habitat for some threatened red-shouldered hawks, authorities said Monday. Kathrine Dixon, an attorney for Habitat Education Center, called the development ''very significant'' in the relationship between the federal agency and the environmental group. It allows logging on about 4,500 acres in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest but protects a key area for the birds. The settlement came after the Madison-based center challenged the timber sale -- the so-called Boulder project in Langlade and Oconto counties.

''We have been working since 2003 on different timber sales and trying to negotiate and really haven't gotten anywhere,'' Dixon said. ''This is the second that we settled. This is good news."

We are not anti-logging, but we are looking at these timber sales as excessive.''

The latest development involves one of five timber sales the Forest Service proposed in 2005 involving nearly 33,500 acres.

Still in dispute between the two groups are sales involving about 20,000 acres, said Dixon, an attorney with the Environmental Law & Policy Center in Chicago.

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Deb Kidd, a specialist in forest planning and environmental analysis for Chequamegon Nicolet National Forest, said the settlement should be signed this week, allowing the agency to solicit bids for the logging.

''The significance is it would allow us to move forward and implement 77 percent of the project,'' she said in a telephone interview from Rhinelander.

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