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For Release on August 14, 2007 Contact: Joan Jewett, (503) 231-6121 Fish and Wildlife Service

Peer Reviews of Northern Spotted Owl Draft Recovery Plan Posted.  Public comments will be accepted until August 24, 2007

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today posted on its website peer reviews of the Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl. The peer reviews were solicited by the Service and will be among the comments and information the agency considers in developing a final plan.

The draft recovery plan, released April 26, 2007, identifies criteria and actions needed to stop the owl’s decline, reduce threats and return the species to a stable, well-distributed population in Washington, Oregon and California. The northern spotted owl is protected as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The Service contracted with the American Ornithologists’ Union and the Society for Conservation Biology to obtain four anonymous peer reviews. The Service also requested peer review comments from three scientists whose work the Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Team cited in developing the draft recovery plan. Peer review comments from two of those scientists have been received and also are posted on the website.

The peer review comments can be viewed at: http://www.fws.gov/pacific/ecoservices/endangered/recovery/NSORecoveryPlanning.htm

Public comments on the peer reviews and on the draft plan will be accepted until August 24, 2007.

The Service is specifically requesting comments on the following: The methods used to determine desired habitat percentages listed in Recovery Criterion 4. If recommendations are offered, respondents are asked to explain the scientific foundation supporting their comments; The biological need, design and feasibility of attempting to provide connectivity between the Olympic Peninsula and central Washington northern spotted owl populations; The biological value in identifying conservation areas in southwest Washington and northwest Oregon; The practicality of Appendix E, which provides examples of how a salvage logging action (Recovery Action 22) may be implemented; The identified boundaries of the Managed Owl Conservation Areas (option 1 only) and the Conservation Support Areas; Methods for managing the threat posed by barred owls; and Ways to create incentives for private land owners and managers to support recovery of the northern spotted owl.

Comments on the plan can be sent electronically to NSOplan@fws.gov, or mailed to NSO Recovery Plan, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ecological Services, 911 NE 11th Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97232. Copies of the draft recovery plan will be available by request from the same Portland address
(telephone: 503-231-6131). An electronic copy of the draft recovery plan is also available at: http://www.fws.gov/pacific/ecoservices/endangered/recovery/NSORecoveryPlanning.htm

The Service intends to publish a final recovery plan for the northern spotted owl in April 2008.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 548 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resources offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign and Native American tribal governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies. To unsubscribe from this list, send an e-mail message to: R1allnews-request@lists.fws.gov. Type unsubscribe in the subject field of the e-mail.

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