Interagency Special Status /
Sensitive Species Program

Bureau of Land Management / US Forest Service
Oregon / Washington

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Interagency Special Status /
Sensitive Species Program

Bureau of Land Management / US Forest Service
Oregon / Washington

Spotted Owl

Caption: Spotted Owl

General Information

This section includes documents that provide guidance for the conservation of Oregon/Washington Bureau of Land Management Special Status Species and Region 6 Forest Service Sensitive Species.

For species and taxa-specific Conservation Planning Documents, use Search for Documents to query by common name, scientific name, or taxonomy.

The Bureau of Land Management Manual (Section 6840) and the Forest Service Manual (2670) directs the agencies to work cooperatively with other agencies, organizations, governments and interested parties for the conservation of plants and animals and their habitats to reduce, mitigate, and possibly eliminate the need for their identification as a special status/sensitive species.Cooperative efforts are important for conservation based on an ecosystem management approach and will improve efficiency by combining efforts and fostering better working relationships. Stabilizing and improving habitat conditions before a species is listed allows for better species conservation and other resource management flexibility, reduces conflicts, and reduces the cost of conservation.

Species Fact Sheets

Species Fact Sheets typically contain condensed information regarding the species' biology and ecology including known habitat attributes, and range and distribution descriptions.The main intent of the species fact sheets has been to succinctly compile known information about the species for distribution to field biologists/botanists on a Forest or District for their use in project evaluations. These fact sheets may not contain the in-depth information to make them useful throughout the Region/State. They are informational documents, and do not represent any decisions by the Agencies.

Vascular Plants

The Oregon Flora Project completed species fact sheets about some of Oregon’s rare and threatened species call the Rare Plant Guide. The purpose of the Oregon Rare Plant Guide is to provide information for identifying rare plants in the field.

To find the Rare Plant guide, go to the Oregon Flora Project.

The Washington Natural Heritage Program Field Guide to Selected Rare Plants was produced as a challenge cost-share agreement between the Washington State Department of Natural Resources' Natural Heritage Program and the Spokane District of the Bureau of Land Management. The Guide contains information to help with the identification of species and their habitats. The Guide also discloses potential threats to these rare species, and helps planners and botanists to identify species management issues. The format for each species covered is somewhat similar to the joint Forest Service and BLM Species Fact Sheet format. The Guide contains fact sheets for over 200 species listed as Sensitive or Strategic by the Forest Service or BLM in Washington state.

The Field Guide to the Sedges of the Pacific Northwest is an illustrated guide to all 163 species, subspecies, and varieties in the genus Carex that occur in Oregon and Washington. Most of these species are found throughout the Pacific Northwest and California. This comprehensive guide contains identification keys, descriptions, more than 650 color photographs, and distribution maps for each species, providing users with helpful tools and tips for identifying the plants in this challenging group. Information about sedge ecology, habitat, management and restoration, ethnobotanical uses, and propagation enhances the guide’s utility. The format for each species covered contains topics similar to the joint Forest Service and BLM Species Fact Sheet format; however the Guide does not list threats or conservation considerations.

Conservation Assessments

Conservation Assessments, like Species Fact Sheet, capture and condense all of the known information about the biology and ecology of a species. However, they tend to be more comprehensive and more in depth than Species Fact Sheet. They include taxonomic, range, distribution, and habitat descriptions, but may also contain key information regarding potential items to consider when managing a species site. In addition, they often identify important inventory, research, and monitoring information that may be relevant for further understanding of the species or for adaptive management purposes. Often, Conservation Assessments provide information on the entire range of the species. Conservation Assessments are not decision documents, but are useful tools to aide biologists and botanists in evaluating project impacts, determining future informational needs, and working with managers on recommendations regarding site management.

Conservation Management Actions

Conservation Management Actions highlight projects undertaken, by biologists or botanists on Forest Service and BLM units, for habitat restoration, protection, or enhancement for Forest Service/BLM Sensitive species. Reports providing a background and implementation efforts on these projects are provided to help promote these types of actions and to sharing lessons learn associated with project implementation.

Conservation Strategies

Conservation Strategies contain all of the information included in a Conservation Assessment, but provide information on how and when to manage a site. Strategies address how to manage the species and/or habitat to maintain viability or persistence of the species. They describe how individual sites/populations should be managed, and can also identify which sites/populations are needed to meet the viability, persistence, or conservation goal for the species. These documents typically cover either a significant portion or the entire range of the species, and may be created by one field unit, one agency, or be interagency in nature, but agreed upon by all units the Strategy covers. Conservation Strategies likely need to go through the National Environmental Policy Act process to be fully considered and implemented, depending upon the scale and specificity of the Strategy, and should be coordinated with BLM State/Forest Service Regional Office planning and conservation leads.

Conservation Agreements

Conservation Agreements outline procedural assurance necessary to reduce, eliminate, or mitigate specific threats. Agreements are usually Memorandums of Understanding agreed upon by federal agencies (Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service or NOAA Fisheries) and may include States and private entities. They are typically broad-scale, giving general guidance on how to manage for a species. The objective of Conservation Agreements is to identify management that will avoid a trend towards listing under the Endangered Species Act. Agreements are typically voluntary, non-binding documents that may be cancelled at any time.

Species Status Assessments, Candidate Species Assessments and Listing Priority Assignments

Species Status Assessments, Candidate Species Assessments, and Listing Priority Assignments are conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Species Status Assessments are completed to support making a determination if a species should be listed as threatened or endangered. Candidate species are plants and animals for which the Service has sufficient information on their biological status and threats to propose them as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but for which development of a listing regulation is precluded by other higher priority listing activities.

Additional species information may be found at:

Site Management Plans

Site Management Plans are optional tools used to address the management of an individual population or site, or a collection of sites with similar characteristics. The "site" or area to be managed is defined by the field unit personnel responsible for managing the particular population/individual site.

Site Management Plans are typically developed for those species/habitats that require active management of the site in order to meet the desired goal for the species/habitat. The Plans are usually very specific as to what management actions need to occur, where, and what the timeline is for each action. Actions may include the use of fire, the removal of vegetation including noxious weeds, road closures, seasonal restrictions, etc. A standardized Site Management Plan Format has been developed and is posted below. Field units are encouraged to use this Format when developing a Site Management Plan.