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Northern Spotted Owl Habitat Reductions Delayed - Again

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today in the Federal Register that it will further delay implementation of the final rule reducing the Northern Spotted Owl’s critical habitat in Washington, Oregon, and California.

That final rule, published in January, would have reduced the owl’s critical habitat from 9.6 million acres to about 6.1 million acres. The rule was set to go into effect on March 16, but in February that date was delayed until April 30. Today’s announcement will further delay implementation of the habitat reductions, until Dec. 15.

According to FWS, “this second delay is necessary to avoid placing undue risk on the conservation of northern spotted owl caused by allowing exclusions from its designated critical habitat to go into effect while the Service prepares a revision or withdrawal of the January 15, 2021, rule through additional rulemaking to address apparent defects.” 

In December, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a seperate final rule, declining to reclassify the Norther Spotted Owl from threatened to endangered.

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