California Spotted Owl Conservation Strategy

California Spotted OwlThe Forest Service completed a Conservation Strategy for the California spotted owl (CSO) in the Sierra Nevada in April 2019. The Strategy will help conserve and sustain the CSO population into the future and will be useful not only to the Forest Service, but also to other land management agencies and researchers. The Strategy is meant to be a living document that can be modified as new information becomes available.


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. 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, the Forest Service developed a new Conservation Strategy for the CSO in 2019 to help guide revision of forest management plans in the Sierra Nevada.

Associated Materials

Final Conservation Strategy:

Conservation Strategy for the California Spotted Owl in the Sierra Nevada. Version 1.0, April 2019.

Final Conservation Assessment:

Conservation Assessment

Past Materials:

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

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

Draft Conservation Strategy Materials (pre-stakeholder workshop)

Previous Draft Strategy Materials

Interim CSO Management Recommendations

Frequently Asked Questions.


The final Strategy was released in April 2019.

In fall of 2018 the draft CSO Strategy underwent peer review.

In February 2018 a draft CSO Strategy was made available for interested parties to provide feedback and input.

An initial stakeholder feedback workshop for the California Spotted Owl (CSO) Conservation Strategy was held in September 2016. A report of the feedback received at this meeting can be viewed here  

A webinar regarding a Conservation Strategy for the California Spotted Owl was held in December 2015

A Strategy Science and Manager Teams Technical Meeting occurred in November 2015

Key Contacts

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