CDFW Seeks Public Comment Related to Northern Spotted Owl

Media Contacts:

Neil Clipperton, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-9753
Carie Battistone, CDFW Wildlife Branch, (916) 445-3615
Kyle Orr, CDFW Communications, (916) 322-8958

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is seeking public comment on a proposal to list the Northern spotted owl as an endangered or threatened species.

The Northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) inhabits forests from southwest British Columbia through the Cascade Range and coastal ranges of Washington, Oregon and northern California. In California, the Northern spotted owl range runs south as far as Marin County in the Coast Ranges and across the Klamath Mountains of northern California east to the Cascade Range where it meets the range of the California spotted owl (S. o. occidentalis) near the Pit River area.

The Northern spotted owl generally inhabits mature and old-growth forests as these habitats contain the necessary structural complexity, including high canopy cover, developed understory and presence of snags, required for various life stages. Preferred prey species include pocket gophers (Thomomys spp.), northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus), woodrats (Neotoma spp.), red tree voles (Phenacomys longicaudus) and deer mice (Peromyscus spp.), with woodrats and flying squirrels often being their most common prey. Loss of habitat, degradation of habitat and competition with other owl species have been noted to negatively impact the Northern spotted owl; however, climate change, disease, contaminants and predation may also negatively affect its populations.

In September 2012, the Environmental Protection Information Center submitted a petition to the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) to formally list the Northern spotted owl as a threatened or endangered species. The Commission published findings of its decision to advance the species to candidacy on Dec. 27, 2013, triggering a 12-month period during which CDFW will conduct a status review to inform the Commission’s decision on whether to list the species.

As part of the status review process, CDFW is soliciting public comment regarding the species’ ecology, biology, life history, distribution, abundance, threats and habitat that may be essential for the species, and recommendations for management of the species. Comments, data and other information can be submitted in writing to:

California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Nongame Wildlife Program
Attn: Neil Clipperton
1812 9th Street
Sacramento, CA 95811

Comments may also be submitted by email to wildlifemgt@wildlife.ca.gov. If submitting comments by email, please include “Northern spotted owl” in the subject heading.

All comments received by May 1, 2014 will be evaluated prior to submission of the CDFW report to the Commission. Receipt of the report will be placed on the agenda for the next available meeting of the Commission after delivery and the report will be made available to the public at that time. Following the receipt of the CDFW report, the Commission will allow a 30-day public comment period prior to taking any action on CDFW’s recommendation.

CDFW’s petition evaluation report for Northern spotted owl is available at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/nongame/publications/.

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