As we move into spring and celebrate the blossoming of flowers and return of vibrant life in our region, so too are Northern Spotted Owl pairs beginning their yearly nesting endeavors. This year, owls have some things to be happy about as two major initiatives advance in EPIC’s Spotted Owl Self-defense Campaign.
First, the EPIC petition to list the Northern Spotted Owl under the California Endangered Species Act that was filed last September received a positive evaluation from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in February, recommending candidate listing and full status review. The listing petition will now be heard by the California Fish and Game Commission on April 17th, and EPIC will be there to advocate on behalf of the owl. It is now time for the State of California to recognize its duties, and based on the overwhelming evidence, act swiftly to protect the Northern Spotted Owl.
Click here to take Action #1: Contact the California Fish and Game Commission and let them know that you support EPIC’s petition to list the Northern Spotted Owl under the California Endangered Species Act.
Another major initiative in EPIC’s Spotted Owl Self-defense Campaign is reforming antiquated rules at the California Board of Forestry. On February 6, 2013, EPIC filed a rulemaking petition before the Board of Forestry to remove regulations that have resulted in harm to owls and significant loss of owl habitat. Existing state regulations have allowed intensive logging of spotted owl habitat within known owl territories resulting in the abandonment and loss of hundreds of historic nesting sites. Updating state regulations to reflect the most current scientific and regulatory guidance is necessary to conserve and recover owls and their habitat. In addition, changing existing state regulations will also serve to streamline review and approval of timber harvest plans, and save valuable public resources. Thanks to positive public comments and the participation of EPIC membership, on March 6th the Board voted to accept EPIC’s rulemaking petition and initiate a formal rulemaking process. Now we need the support of EPIC members and the public to ensure that the Board finalizes the rulemaking.