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 early 2018.

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. This Assessment provides essential scientific information to support the development of the Conservation Strategy. Much new science is also underway, or has been completed, since the Assessment was drafted. We now have a revised Draft of the Conservation Strategy (February 2018) available below. This draft builds on the previous drafts by incorporating feedback we have received, new and developing science, and information from the October 2017 USFWS Conservation Objectives Report for the California Spotted Owl (see below). We invite interested parties to read the latest draft of the Strategy and let us know if you have additional thoughts or feedback.

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Associated Materials

Draft Conservation Strategy for the California Spotted Owl (February 2018)

USFWS Conservation Objectives Report for the California Spotted Owl (October 2017)

Conservation Assessment

Draft Conservation Strategy Materials (pre-stakeholder workshop)

Previous Draft Strategy Materials

Interim CSO Management Recommendations

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events

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