Northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina) recovery strategy: chapter 23

Appendix 1

Interim Management Recommendations

Spotted Owl Recovery Team

Interim Management Recommendations

January, 2003

  • The following items are interim management recommendations endorsed by all SORT members until the Recovery Plan is completed and implemented, unless otherwise stated below.
  • These recommendations may be revisited/updated as information becomes available.
  • As SORT has not yet been able to assess the biological “recoverability” of the Spotted Owl in British Columbia, these recommendations reflect the guidance given in the Nov. 2001 RENEW Recovery Operation Manual’s feasibility section that states: “Species that cannot be recovered should as a minimum be managed to maintain current numbers and distributions”.
  • SORT recognizes that some of these items involve an increase in habitat protection measures from those contained in the existing Spotted Owl Management Plan.


Overall Purpose

Work towards creating a revised management plan that is approved by government and protects sufficient Spotted Owl habitat throughout its known range to allow recovery to occur as determined by SORT Recovery Strategy and Action Plans.

A. Demographics: Research/Inventory/Captive Management

  1. Complete range-wide intensive inventory 2003 field season to establish population estimate and define the species’ range. This is essential for science-based assessment. Effectiveness of all other actions are dependent on sufficient funding for this item (estimate for 2003: $0.5 to 1 million).
  2. Continue investigating capture/release program with consideration of captive breeding. Ensure funding for post-release monitoring.
  3. Implement research priorities as determined by the Spotted Owl Recovery Team.

B. Enhancement

1.   Where appropriate, encourage silviculture systems to modify forest stands to improve their suitability for Spotted Owl sooner, especially in Long-Term Activity Centres and in connectivity corridors. Avoid occupied owl sites (sites with owls known to be present).

C. Habitat Protection

  1. Protect all known Spotted Owl occupied sites within the range of the Spotted Owl, including the Spotted Owl Management Plan, Matrix and unprotected areas (e.g., Lillooet).
  2. Within SRMZs, temporarily cease commercial logging in suitable habitat (>100 years) until results of inventory are completed and the situation is re-evaluated; logging can continue for enhancement as per B1.
  3. NB. Full consensus was not reached on this item. Seven of nine team votes were in favour of the above position on SRMZs. The Industry representative and alternate did not agree to a complete ban--they preferred considering increasing the harvest threshold above 67% but below 100% dependent on risk assessment on a site by site biological basis. They also prefer any such restrictions not to apply to existing approved cutting permits. The Academia representative felt there was room for some flexibility between the two positions.
  4. Matrix areas–manage as per current Matrix phase-out strategy under SOMP, except where they hold active owls as per C1.
  5. Identify, and protect/manage critical connectivity habitat, e.g., connection of Lillooet to Fraser TSAs.


  • “Protect” means to cease all removal/alteration of suitable habitat within the area identified, except where such activities were done for enhancement purposes.
  • “Occupied” means a site that was known to have been occupied by an owl or pair of owls during one or more surveys conducted from 1997 to the present.

D. Additional Management Tools

  1. Include SPOW as Endangered under the Wildlife Act (enables CWMAs).
  2. Include SPOW in IWMS to enable WHAs.


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