Tina Bartlett, DFG Wildlife Branch, (916) 358-2898
Harry Morse, DFG Communications, (916) 323-1478
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has released the 2012 Burrowing Owl Staff Report on Burrowing Owl Mitigation, a revision of a 1995 report on the species. The release of the revised report coincides with the beginning of burrowing owl breeding season, which begins as early as Feb. 1, 2012 in California.
The report is located on the DFG website at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=83843.
The Burrowing Owl Consortium, an ad hoc group of burrowing owl biologists and advocates in the San Francisco Bay Area, prepared the first Burrowing Owl Survey Protocol and Mitigation Guidelines in 1993. DFG’s 1995 report followed, describing burrowing owl and burrow survey techniques and mitigation measures intended to offset the loss of habitat and slow or reverse further decline of this species. Notwithstanding these measures, burrowing owls have continued to decline in portions of their range.
DFG revised the report to address this concern. The report provides greater detail and clarity than was available in the 1995 version of the report and summarizes the best currently available science for evaluating project sites for burrowing owl habitat, occupancy, conducting habitat assessments and conducting burrowing owl surveys. The report also summarizes best management practices developed over the last 16 years to improve the adequacy of project impacts assessments, to identify clear and effective avoidance and minimization measures and to create burrowing owl mitigation recommendations that ensure impacts to burrowing owls are effectively addressed at the project, local and/or regional level.