DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. -- Douglas County commissioners, along with officials from Washington and California counties, are asking for a chance to offer input on the Northern Spotted Owl's habitat.
The Northern Spotted Owl is a one-pound bird that has been on the endangered species list for decades.
The birds numbers have declined 40% in the last 25 years.
Efforts to save the species over the years have already had a big impact on the county. "The economic impact on the region has been significant. That's an understatement; it's been catastrophic in many areas," said Douglas County Commissioner Doug Robertson.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife released a revised critical habitat proposal that reserves 13.9 million acres on federal, state and private lands.
Commissioner Robertson says that would have an even bigger impact on Douglas County, and he wants to make sure that the needs of the area are heard, while DFW officials are outlining an Environmental Impact Statement.
So, officials applied for a cooperating agency status on all future discussions that deal with the Northern Spotted Owl.
"Cooperating agency status is provided for local entities and local governments like ours, so that we can participate in the process while the designation is being determined, as opposed to simply being informed after all the work is done that, "here's the outcome,"" said Robertson.
He says that one thing he wants to make sure the DFW focuses is on is the economic implications. "Economics are something that must be taken into consideration and often aren't, this case being one of them," he said. "So, we think it's very important to be at the table."
Local commissioners are joined by officials from Skamania County in Washington and Siskiyou County in California.
Robertson says he's not sure when they'll hear back about their request, but he hopes it will be soon.