U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initiates status review for the Northern Spotted Owl

Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a 90-day finding on a petition to reclassify the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The petition was received by the Service in August 2012 from the Environmental Protection Information Center. The petition asserts that “the outlook for the northern spotted owl is dire based on the population trends, continued habitat loss, competition by the aggressive, invading barred
owl, and the inadequacy of regulatory mechanisms, especially the lack of recovery efforts on state and private lands. Thus, the petitioners request that the Service change the status of the northern spotted owl from “threatened” to “endangered.” 

In the 90-day finding, which appeared in the April 10, 2015 issue of the Federal Register (80 FR 19259 – 19263), the Service indicates that “the petition presents substantial information that the petitioned action may be warranted for the northern spotted owl.” Thus, the agency has initiated a 12-month status review for the species to determine if the petitioned action is warranted. The review will also serve as the five-year review of the species as required under the ESA, and which was last completed in 2011.