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Northern Spotted Owl’s Status Could be Upgraded to Endangered

Wednesday, April 08, 2015


An evaluation underway by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will determine whether to upgrade the northern spotted owl’s status from threatened to endangered. 

The status of the northern spotted owl is under review. Photo: US Fish and Wildlife Service

A petition from the Environmental Protection Information Center to change the owl’s status to endangered was a catalyst for the review, which will also fulfill a five-year review required under the Endangered Species Act. 

The spotted owl’s legacy in Western Oregon, its natural habitat, is a sensitive one. 

Many attribute declines in the timber industry to the bird being declared a threatened species in the 1990s, which required loggers leave 40 percent of old-growth forests in tact within a 1.3 mile radius of a spotted owl nest. Timber harvests were reduced by upwards of 80 percent, meaning the loss of thousands of jobs. 

The northern spotted owl population has declined 2.9 percent per year on average, while declines as high as 5.9 percent annually have been reported. 

The biggest threats to its existence is habitat loss and competition from barred owls. 

“The best tools we have to prevent spotted owls from going extinct are continued habitat protection and barred owl management, both of which are recommended in the recovery plan," said Paul Henson, Oregon State Supervisor for the Service.  

So far, he said efforts to remove barred owls from northern spotted owl habitat have shown improvement. 

“Our review of the spotted owl will tell us whether current efforts to address threats are sufficient,” Henson said. 

Read more about the northern spotted owl.


Related Slideshow: Slideshow: Oregon Brings Awareness to Estuaries

The Oregon Coast is home to some of the great estuaries.

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Yaquina Bay

Yaquina Bay

Located on the central Oregon coast at Newport, Lincoln County, this estuary is approximately 4,329 acres and has a watershed of approximately 253 square miles and is home to many waterfowls and shorebirds.

Photo Credit: Jeramey Jannene (image cropped)

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Siletz Bay

Siletz Bay

This bay is located along the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway just sound of Lincoln City along US highway 101. The refuge was established to nourish species such as the coho, chinook salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout.

Photo Credit: Michelle Kinsey Bruns (image cropped)

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Netarts Bay

Netarts Bay

Just south of Oceanside along the Three Capes Scenic Route is where you'll find Netarts Bay. This bay is just over 7 miles, spanning north to south, separated by a long club-shaped stretch of forest and and home to several types of clams and crab.

Photo Credit: Doug Kerr (image cropped)

Prev Next

Umpqua River

Umpqua River

Near Roseburg at the coast of Oregon, this 111-mile long river is home to bass and shad.

Photo Credit: Cary Bass-Deschenes (image cropped)

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Chetco River

Chetco River

Located along the Oregon Coast Range, just northwest of Chetco Peak, this 56-mile long river is home to salmon and trout. This river is also entirely located within the Rogue River in Gold Beach, Curry County, Oregon.

Photo Credit: Zachary Collier (image cropped)


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