USFWS Cuts Northern Spotted Owl Critical Habitat by 42% in Likely Death Sentence for Species

Northern spotted owl. Photo courtesy of Scott Carpenter


Today, with six days remaining in the Trump administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a final rule eliminating 3.4 million acres of critical habitat for the northern spotted owl in Washington state, Oregon, and California. This decision comes one month after the Service announced that the species should be uplisted from threatened to endangered, but the agency is too busy to provide these desperately needed protections. The elimination of 42% of the endangered species’ critical habitat would likely result in extinction for the northern spotted owl in the U.S. This final rule results from a sweetheart settlement between the Trump administration and the timber industry.

“On one hand, you have biologists acknowledging that northern spotted owls are extremely close to extinction and more must be done to prevent the extinction of the species,” said Susan Jane Brown, attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center. “On the other, you have the Trump