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Northern Spotted Owl Habitat Revised

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced that it will revise the designation of critical habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl. 

The Trump administration published a final rule in January, reducing the owl’s critical habitat in Washington, Oregon, and California from 9.6 million acres to about 6.1 million acres. Implementation of that rule was delayed by the Biden administration when it took office. The new proposal, published on July 20, would instead exclude only 204,797 acres from the 9.6 million acres previously set aside. 

The USFWS noted that, “the large additional exclusions made in the January Exclusions Rule were premised on inaccurate assumptions about the status of the owl and its habitat needs particularly in relation to barred owls.” In addition, that rule “undermined the biological redundancy of the critical habitat network by excluding large areas of critical habitat across the designation and did not address the ability of the remaining units and subunits to function in that network.”  

The USFWS will accept comments on its proposal until September 20. Learn more about the proposal and submit comments here.

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