FWS announces comment opportunity on revised Northern Spotted Owl recovery plan
75 Fed. Reg. 56131 (Wednesday, September 15, 2010) / Notices
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Revised Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina)
ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability of the Draft Revised Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), a northwestern U.S. species listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (Act). The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed species, unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a particular species. Recovery plans help guide conservation efforts by describing actions considered necessary for the recovery of the species, establishing criteria for downlisting or delisting listed species, and estimating time and cost for implementing the measures needed for recovery. We invite public review and comment on the Draft Revised Recovery Plan. DATES: We must receive comments on the draft revised recovery plan on or before November 15, 2010.
The spotted owl was listed as threatened throughout its range due to the loss of suitable habitat to timber harvesting, exacerbated by catastrophic events such as fire and wind storms. Today, FWS recognizes past habitat loss, current habitat loss, and competition from barred owls (Strix varia) as the most pressing threats to spotted owl persistence. Image from U.S. Department of Interior Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office
EXCERPT: The draft revised recovery plan focuses on six main topics: (1) Adequacy of spotted owl habitat reserves on the west side of the Cascade Mountains, (2) lack of habitat reserves on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, (3) the role of non-Federal lands in spotted owl recovery, (4) adequacy of the existing strategy for conservation of dispersal habitat, (5) protection of high-quality habitat, and (6) protection of occupied spotted owl sites.
KEITHINKING: Last week, I worried that a recent D.D.C. court decision created chaos for the 2008 Northern Spotted Owl recovery plan, an important document for species management. On September 1, 2010, the Court issued an opinion remanding the 2008 recovery plan to FWS for issuance of a revised plan within nine months. This is the response. Who says FWS cannot act quickly?