Biden FWS Rolls Back Trump Rule, Cuts Just 2% Of Spotted Owl Protections

"The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to withdraw the previous administration’s rule that slashed millions of acres of critical habitat protections for the northern spotted owl. The proposed new rule would reduce the protected habitat area in Oregon by 200,000 acres — leaving far more land protected for the threatened owl than called for by the Trump administration.

This comes after the Biden administration’s U.S Interior Department delayed and reviewed the Trump administration’s Jan. 15 rollback of 3.4 million acres of designated critical habitat protections for the imperiled species in Washington, Oregon and California. The last-minute move by the Trump administration allowed the Fish and Wildlife Service to reopen a public comment period in March, in which the agency received more than 2,000 comments.

Now, the agency proposes reducing the protected area for the northern spotted owl by 204,797 acres in 15 Oregon counties. This designation was the agency’s original proposal in August 2020— most of it, 184,618 acres, are on Bureau of Land Management lands, with 20,000 acres on Tribal Lands. The new proposal would reduce the species’ critical habitat protections on about 2% of the 9.6 million acres designated in 2012."

Monica Samayoa reports for OPB July 19, 2021.


"Biden Proposes Restoring 3.4 Million Acres Of Northern Spotted Owl Habitat, Reversing Trump Rule" (Washington Post)

"Despite Massive Effort, Spotted Owl Populations At An All-Time Low" (National Geographic)

Source: OPB, 07/20/2021