Washington Forest Protection Association

Northern Spotted Owl Conservation in Washington State

Map of Federal Forestland Preserved from Management in Washington State

How are the Northern Spotted Owls Protected?

Federal Forestland
Preserved from Management

There are more than 9.5 million acres of federal forests in Washington. Almost half of the federal land, 4.8 million acres, is preserved from management in national parks, monuments, and wilderness areas. The federal government listed the owl as threatened in California, Oregon and Washington under the Endangered Species Act on June 26, 1990, primarily due to widespread modification and loss of suitable habitat on federal lands and inadequate regulations to conserve the spotted owl. The listing status remained unchanged as a result of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s 2004 status review; however the Barred Owl was identified as a new major threat. The federal government made a decision to recover the spotted owl on federal land because that is where 90% of the known owl population lived and 85% of the owl’s old-growth forest habitat occurred. The 2011 Draft Recovery Plan affirms that the foundation of the recovery strategy is a network of owl conservation areas located on Federal lands. The government recognized that it would take decades to recover the owl and that populations would continue to decline but would eventually stabilize as older forest habitat regrows over the next 50 to 100 years.


  • Total Forestland
  • Federal Forestland Preserved from Management

Owl Sites

Facts & Figures

More than 85% of the owls are found on Federal land.
4.8 million acres

More than half of the federal land is preserved from management.

Federal recovery strategy

The foundation of owl recovery is a network of owl conservation areas located on Federal lands.

Owl habitat

There are more than 7.5 million acres of old-growth forest across the owl’s range.