OLYMPIA — The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking public input on a draft periodic status review for northern spotted owl that includes a recommendation to keep the owl on the state’s endangered species list.
“Since the species’ state listing, the likelihood of northern spotted owls becoming extinct in Washington has only increased,” said Taylor Cotten, Fish and Wildlife conservation assessment section manager.
“Despite management and conservation actions that have reduced the rate of northern spotted owl habitat loss, the Washington sub-population of spotted owls is still facing challenges that threaten population recovery, including competition by non-native barred owls,” he said.
The public comment period opened Tuesday and will close at the end of business on Oct. 29.
The draft periodic status review for northern spotted owl is now available on the agency’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov. The public can submit written comments on the document via email to email@example.com or by postal mail to Taylor Cotten, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, P.O. Box 43141, Olympia, WA 98504-3200.
“Following the public comment period, we will brief the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission on the periodic status review and recommendation,” Cotten said.
The commission is tentatively scheduled to consider this topic in November 2023.
The northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) averages 17 inches in length with white spotting across brown bodies. They can be distinguished from barred owls by the latter’s dark vertical barring on their light-colored breast.
The northern spotted owl is now rare throughout Washington state, with populations continuing to decline. About 1,200 territories have been documented in Washington and trend data suggests that fewer than 25 percent of these territories remain occupied.
Fish and Wildlife regularly analyzes and reviews information to inform status and classification recommendations for species listed as endangered, threatened or sensitive in Washington.
If a species is listed, Fish and Wildlife prepares recovery or management plans to guide conservation efforts.
More information is available on the agency’s At-Risk Species webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk.