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    1. Sampling Techniques Trapping

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    • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released the final environmental impact statement regarding their proposed barred owl management strategy, which addresses the threat that the nonnative and invasive barred owl (Strix varia) poses to two native western owl subspecies—the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) and the California spotted owl (Strix occidentalis occidentalis).The agency also released a proposed management strategy. In November 2023, the USFWS released for public comment a draft Environmental Impact Statement and draft Barred Owl Management Strategy. The agency will make a decision on the proposed strategy in the next 30 days. You can read the management strategy here and the environmental impact statement here. ***** USFWS PRESS RELEASE U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Releases Final Environmental Impact Statement on Proposed Strategy to Manage Invasive Barred Owls to Protect At-Risk Spotted Owls Barred owl management is necessary to prevent federally listed northern spotted owls from extinction Jul 3, 2024 Media Contacts: Jodie Delavan PORTLAND, Ore. – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is announcing its final environmental impact statement analyzing proposed barred owl management alternatives to protect northern and California spotted owls in Washington, Oregon and California from invasive barred owls. The Service’s preferred alternative is the implementation of a proposed Barred Owl Management Strategy, which would result in the annual removal of less than one-half of 1% of the current North American barred owl population. Northern spotted owl populations are rapidly declining due to competition with invasive barred owls and habitat loss. California spotted owls, which are proposed for ESA listing, face a similar risk as barred owl populations continue to move south into their range. “Barred owl management is not about one owl versus another,” said Service Oregon Office state supervisor Kessina Lee. “Without actively managing barred owls, northern spotted owls will likely go extinct in all or the majority of their range, despite decades of collaborative conservation efforts.” If the proposed strategy is adopted and fully implemented, lethal removal of barred owls by trained professionals would occur in less than half of the areas where spotted and invasive barred owls co-exist within the northern spotted owl’s range; and would limit their invasion into the California spotted owl’s range. Public hunting of barred owls is not allowed under the proposed strategy and lead ammunition will not be used for any lethal removal actions. “Barred owl removal, like all invasive species management, is not something the Service takes lightly,” said Lee. “The Service has a legal responsibility to do all it can to prevent the extinction of the federally listed northern spotted owl and support its recovery, while also addressing significant threats to California spotted owls.” Barred owls are native to eastern North America but started moving west of the Mississippi River at the beginning of the 20th century. This expansion was likely due to human-induced changes in the Great Plains and northern boreal forest. As a result, barred owls now surpass northern spotted owls in numbers across most of California, Oregon, and Washington. If the proposed strategy is adopted, the Service would receive a permit under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The Service could then designate interested Tribes, federal and state agencies, companies, or specific landowners to implement barred owl management on their lands if actions are consistent with the strategy, conditions of the permit, and state laws and policies. Those who implement the strategy will be accountable for annual monitoring and reporting.  The final EIS and proposed strategy reflect the input received throughout the scoping and public comment process, as well as feedback from cooperating agencies and Tribes. The Service expects to announce a final record of decision on the proposed strategy at least 30 days after the formal publication of the final EIS in the Federal Register. More information is available on the Service’s barred owl management website, including the draft and final EIS, proposed strategy and frequently asked questions. The final EIS will be available in the coming days in the Federal Register and at https://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2022-0074.  
    • From the American Ornithological Society -  The 65th Supplement to the American Ornithological Society’s (AOS’s) Check-list of North American Birds, published today in Ornithology, includes several updates to the classifications of bird species found in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.  A few highlights from this year’s supplement, detailed below, include species splits for Troglodytes aedon (House Wren) and Tyto alba (Barn Owl); a lumping of Acanthis flammea (Common Redpoll), Acanthis hornemanni (Hoary Redpoll), and Acanthis cabaret (Lesser Redpoll); a genus merger for bitterns; and a genus split for plovers.  The Check-list, published since 1886, is updated in annual supplements from the AOS’s North American Classification Committee (NACC). The Check-list and its supplements provide the taxonomic and nomenclatural foundation for bird research, conservation, management, and education throughout the region, and are relied on as the authority on avian biodiversity by government agencies, NGOs, scientists, and birders, among others.  Read the rest here. The full 2024 Check-list supplement is available here.
    • The Pacific Seabird Group has released a statement regarding highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI), as a result of a symposium held at the 2024 Annual Meeting of PSG.  During the 51st meeting of the Pacific Seabird Group in Seattle, Washington, on February 23, 2024, a group of international seabird managers, biologists, veterinarians, and researchers participated in a symposium on HPAI in seabirds. The statement draws on their  first-hand experience dealing with the ramifications of HPAI in seabirds, and has been released to bring awareness to the issue. Learn more and read the statement here. 
    • Canada recently released its 2030 Nature Strategy, which will implement the country's commitments under the Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework agreed to at the fifteenth United Nations Biodiversity Conference of the Parties (COP 15) in November 2022. The strategy call for the conservation of 30% of Canada's land and marine areas. According to the 2030 National Strategy, Canada has already conserved or protected almost 14% of its land and almost 15% of marine areas.  In addition, new legislation was introduced in the Canadian parliament to codify the country's commitment to protect nature for future generations. The Nature Accountability Act would require that all future Canadian governments regularly present to Parliament a national nature strategy, and report on its implementation, ensuring accountability and transparency.  Learn more about the 2030 Nature Strategy from Environment Canada here. 
    • Greetings, We are pleased to announce our forthcoming book titled “Birds and Persistent Organic Pollutants” (Springer Publishers) which explores the ecotoxicological impact of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) on avian species.  If interested, please submit a chapter proposal/abstract through the Google form by 15th August 2024. https://forms.gle/8yppV6xg5t6uPLaq5  For more information/queries and support, please get in touch with Dr.Vidya Padmakumar at birdsandpollutants@gmail.com.     Regards, Dr. Vidya 
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