A decade of litigation over the status of the northern goshawk has apparently concluded with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the Fish & Wildlife Service's decision not to place the bird on the endangered species list. The ruling was good news for loggers, who contended that Endangered Species Act protection for the northern goshawk would restrict timber harvesting much like the listing of the northern spotted owl did in 1990. The controversy started in 1991 when 19 environmental groups petitioned the Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to list the northern goshawk as an endangered species in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. The agency declined to list the bird, finding that there was no evidence the species west of the 100th meridian was distinct from the species east of that line. The environmental groups sued, and U.S. District Court Judge Richard Bilby ruled that the USFWS decision was arbitrary. He directed the agency to reconsider. The agency did so but reached the same conclusion. The environmentalists sued again, and Bilby again ruled the USFWS decision was arbitrary. So in September 1997, the agency issued a finding that listing of the goshawk "may be warranted" and assembled a team to study the issues. The team concluded the species was well-distributed and there was no evidence that its range in the West had significantly contracted, so the agency in June 1998 declined to list the goshawk as endangered or threatened. Environmentalists sued again, but this time District Court Judge Helen Frye upheld the USFWS's decision. On appeal, so did the Ninth Circuit. The agency "assembled a team of wildlife biologists with special expertise in the area of goshawks to conduct a status review. The administrative record indicates the status review team conducted a comprehensive review of scientific published and unpublished literature, peer reviews and raw data in making their report," wrote Judge Donald Lay, an Eighth Circuit judge sitting by assignment on the Ninth Circuit bench. The agency's "decision was not arbitrary or capricious … [and] was amply supported by evidence in the record," Lay wrote for the court. The Case: Center for Biological Diversity v. Badgley, No. 01-35829, 03 C.D.O.S. 6393. Filed July 21, 2003. The Lawyers: For Center for Biological Diversity: Daniel Rohlf, Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, (503) 768-6707. For the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Susan Pacholski, Department of Justice, (202) 514-2000.