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News / Clark County News

Washington Fish and Wildlife says spotted owl is still endangered

By Lauren Ellenbecker, Columbian staff writer
Published: August 2, 2023, 5:38am

Washington’s northern spotted owl populations continue to decline despite decades of conservation efforts, leading the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to recommend keeping it listed as endangered.

The agency invites the public to comment on its draft periodic status review for the northern spotted owl. Feedback can be submitted through Oct. 29 via email, tandepubliccom@dfw.wa.gov, or postal mail to Taylor Cotten, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, P.O. Box 43141, Olympia, WA, 98504.

“Despite management and conservation actions that have reduced the rate of northern spotted owl habitat loss, the Washington subpopulation of spotted owls is still facing challenges that threaten population recovery,” said Cotten, Fish and Wildlife conservation assessment section manager, in a release Tuesday.

Data suggests less than 25 percent of roughly 1,200 documented owl territories in Washington are occupied by the species. The likelihood of northern spotted owls becoming extinct has only increased since the state Department of Fish and Wildlife listed it as endangered in 1988.

A commission will review the draft status review in November.

More information about Washington’s at-risk species can be viewed at www.wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk.

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This story was made possible by Community Funded Journalism, a project from The Columbian and the Local Media Foundation. Top donors include the Ed and Dollie Lynch Fund, Patricia, David and Jacob Nierenberg, Connie and Lee Kearney, Steve and Jan Oliva, The Cowlitz Tribal Foundation and the Mason E. Nolan Charitable Fund. The Columbian controls all content. For more information, visit columbian.com/cfj.

Columbian staff writer