How are the Northern Spotted Owls Protected?
The primary protection provided for the spotted owl is through the Endangered Species Act. By designating the owl as threatened, the federal government prohibits harming, harassing or injuring spotted owls. Shortly after the owl was listed, the federal government designated lands for the owl called critical habitat in 1992, and then in 1994, formalized a management plan for the owl and more than 1,000 old-growth forest species in the three-state range of the owl. This comprehensive plan, called the Northwest Forest Plan, is the foundation of owl conservation. The Northwest Forest Plan (encompassing all of the land west of the red line on the map above) covers 24.5 million acres across the three-state range. In Washington alone, more than 13 million acres has a management plan for the owl that complements the federal conservation strategy. In addition, every individual owl is protected from harm under the Endangered Species Act.
- Total Forestland
- Federal Forestland Preserved from Management
- Critical Habitat Units
- Northwest Forest Plan
- Habitat Conservation Plans
- Special Emphasis Areas
- Tribal Forestland
- Northwest Forest Plan Boundary
Facts & Figures
Every individual owl is protected from harm under the Endangered Species Act.
13.6 million acres
Land within the Northwest Forest Plan Boundary which has a plan to complement the federal conservation strategy.
Management plans for the Northern Spotted Owl
Washington State’s contribution to owl recovery on non-federal lands was developed through a collaborative stakeholder process, and adopted into law in 1996.
In 1990, the number one threat to the Northern Spotted Owl was habitat loss. Today, protection of habitat in is the number one accomplishment of the Northwest Forest Plan.