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Recreation, environment, access, and land use news and information for California.

Spotted owl listing - what it means

The STATE listing of the northern spotted owl as an Endangered Species signals a potential problem for designated trails in northern spotted owl habitat.  The impact will not be immediate; but, it will be an issue for future consideration during annual travel management reviews.  Federal agencies are required to consider state species of concern and ESA lists during their planning efforts.

Basically, the California ESA and the Federal ESA are very close.  The primary difference is the Federal ESA will allow for “take” of a species in conjunction with a permitted activity.  The California ESA does not accommodate for “take” of a listed species.

The issue in question is the California Endangered Species Act and its duplicative application to the Federal Endangered Species.  Interestingly, both were basically written by the same individual.  However, the greater body of comment in the US Senate tempered some of the more stringent points in the California law that sailed through with little opposition.

The "no take" provision is the biggest and most obvious difference.  It is also the point being exploited that affects the snowy plovers at Pismo Dunes.

There are numerous other state-federal conflict issues where a federal-state management agreement has resulted in USFWS priority being the rule applied.  

However, within the past couple of years state law has been pushed to subvert federal.

Case in point, the flat tailed horned lizard in Ocotillo Wells SVRA.  A state listing of the lizard will insert state ruling as a controlling factor on state lands and a consideration factor on federal and private lands.   

That listing gives the state a leverage voice in control of private and federal land decisions.

While existing management prescriptions are addressing "maximum" conservation based on existing listing as a federal species, that does not include the "maximum" conservation effort based on a duplicative state listing.

Now, the final ruling will result in a compromise as to what standard will apply.  So, politics become the name of the game.  And, it now sets the stage where a difference of opinion is now a difference of statute.

In the long term, there are issues to watch and address as they arise.

 

A bumpy ride awaits....

Long awaited DRECP released
Mojave Trails and Planning 2.0

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