California Spotted Owl Conservation Strategy

California Spotted OwlThe Forest Service is leading an effort to prepare a Conservation Strategy for the California spotted owl (CSO). The strategy will help conserve and sustain the CSO population in the Sierra Nevada/Cascade region.

This strategy will be useful not only to the Forest Service, but also to other land management agencies and researchers.

Our goal is to complete the strategy in fall 2017.

For a quick overview, check out our Frequently Asked Questions.


The CSO has long been a species of conservation focus in the Pacific Southwest Region, with the species having been designated as a Forest Service Sensitive Species in the late 1970s. In July 1992, the Pacific Southwest Research Station published The California Spotted Owl: A Technical Assessment of Its Current Status which provided the scientific foundation for conserving the species for the last 23 years. Since the publication of that report, a great deal of scientific information and management experience have developed that warrant a renewed look at the best means of conserving the California spotted owl. Given the importance of species conservation to the development of revised Forest Plans, a new Conservation Strategy for the CSO can help guide the current revision of Forest Plans in the Sierra Nevada.

Current Project Status

 The Pacific Southwest Research Station has completed preparation of a Conservation Assessment and it is awaiting final publication. In the meantime, the pre-publication draft has now been posted (see materials below). This Assessment provides essential scientific information to support the development of the Conservation Strategy. We also have a very early draft of the Framework for the Conservation Strategy, and we received input and feedback on the information developed so far at a working meeting on September 22nd (see below). We are currently working to incorporate the feedback we have received, as well as incorporating new and developing science, and improving the clarity and cohesion of the draft Strategy materials. Early this year, the USFWS began its process to develop a Conservation Objectives Report for the CA Spotted Owl. In order to ensure that the next draft of our Conservation Strategy addresses as comprehensively as possible the needs and objectives that will be identified in the Report, we have slowed our revision process to accommodate the Report’s development. We hope to hold another public meeting in a few months to further facilitate the Strategy development process.

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Associated Materials

Latest Draft Conservation Strategy Materials (pre-stakeholder workshop)

Conservation Assessment (Pre-Publication Draft)

Previous Draft Strategy Materials

Interim CSO Management Recommendations

Upcoming Events

We are in the very early planning stages for another potential stakeholder workshop this summer

Past Events

We held a stakeholder feedback workshop for the California Spotted Owl (CSO) Conservation Strategy on September 22, 2016. A report of the feedback received at this meeting can be viewed here  

Webinar regarding a Conservation Strategy for the California Spotted Owl, Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Strategy Science and Manager Teams Technical Meeting, November 12-13, 2015

Key Contacts

Sarah Sawyer, Regional Wildlife Ecologist, Project Leader; 707-562-8924