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 2016.

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 Efforts

We have taken the first step toward developing the CSO Conservation Strategy by partnering with the Pacific Southwest Research Station to summarize the state of knowledge relative to the CSO. The Pacific Southwest Research Station is leading this effort to prepare a Conservation Assessment and expects to have it completed this fall. This Assessment will provide essential scientific information to support the Conservation Strategy. From this assessment, a team of experienced managers and scientists will develop a Conservation Strategy that will provide for the long-term persistence of the species and the coniferous forests upon which it depends.