[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 112 (Tuesday, June 12, 2007)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 32449-32516]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 07-2805]



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Part III





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service



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50 CFR Part 17



Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Revised 
Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl (Strix 
occidentalis caurina); Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 112 / Tuesday, June 12, 2007 / 
Proposed Rules

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

RIN 1018-AU37


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Proposed Revised 
Designation of Critical Habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl (Strix 
occidentalis caurina)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to 
revise the critical habitat designation for the northern spotted owl 
(Strix occidentalis caurina) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended (Act). In 1992, we designated critical habitat for the 
northern spotted owl on 6,887,000 acres (ac) (2,787,070 hectares (ha)) 
of Federal lands in California, Oregon, and Washington. In this 
document we propose revised critical habitat for the northern spotted 
owl on a total of approximately 5,337,839 acres (ac) (2,160,194 
hectares (ha)) of Federal lands in California, Oregon, and Washington. 
If adopted, this action would result in a net decrease of approximately 
1,549,161 ac (626,915 ha) of designated critical habitat for the 
northern spotted owl.

DATES: We will accept comments from all interested parties until August 
13, 2007. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at 
the address shown in the ADDRESSES section by July 27, 2007.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and 
materials concerning this proposal by any one of several methods:
    1. You may mail or hand-deliver written comments and information to 
Kemper McMaster, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, 2600 SE 98th Ave., Suite 100, 
Portland, OR 97266.
    2. You may send comments by electronic mail (e-mail) to 
[email protected]. Please see the Public Comments Solicited 
section below for file format and other information about electronic 
filing.
    3. You may fax your comments to our Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office 
at 503-231-6195.
    4. You may go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions provided for submitting 
comments.
    Comments and materials received, as well as supporting 
documentation used in the preparation of this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, at the address above; the 
Western Washington Fish and Wildlife Office, 510 Desmond Drive SE., 
Suite 101, Lacey, WA 98503; and the Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office, 
1829 S. Oregon St., Yreka, CA 96097.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kemper McMaster, Field Supervisor, 
Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES) (telephone 503-231-
6179); Ken Berg, Field Supervisor, Western Washington Fish and Wildlife 
Office (see ADDRESSES) (telephone 360-753-9440); or Phillip Detrich, 
Field Supervisor, Yreka Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES) 
(telephone 530-842-5763). People who use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TTD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 800-877-8339, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Comments Solicited

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposal will 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, comments or 
suggestions from the public, other concerned governmental agencies, the 
scientific community, industry, or any other interested party 
concerning this proposed rule are hereby solicited. Comments 
particularly are sought concerning:
    (1) The reasons why habitat should or should not be designated as 
critical habitat as provided by section 4 of the Act (16. U.S.C. 1531 
et seq.), including whether the benefit of designation would outweigh 
threats to the species caused by designation such that the designation 
of critical habitat is prudent;
    (2) Specific information on the amount and distribution of northern 
spotted owl habitat, what areas should be included in the revised 
designation that were occupied at the time of listing that contain the 
features that are essential for the conservation of the species and 
why, and what areas that were not occupied at the time of listing are 
essential to the conservation of the species and why;
    (3) Land use designations and current or planned activities in the 
subject areas and their possible impacts on proposed revised critical 
habitat;
    (4) Any foreseeable economic, national security, or other potential 
impacts resulting from the proposed revised designation and, in 
particular, any impacts on small entities; and the benefits of 
including or excluding areas that exhibit these impacts; and
    (5) Whether any areas should or should not be excluded from the 
revised designation under section 4(b)(2) of the Act and why; and
    (6) Whether our approach to designating critical habitat could be 
improved or modified in any way to provide for greater public 
participation and understanding, or to assist us in accommodating 
public concerns and comments.
    If you wish to comment, you may submit your comments and materials 
concerning this proposal by any one of several methods (see ADDRESSES 
section). Please submit e-mail comments to [email protected] 
in ASCII file format and avoid the use of special characters or any 
form of encryption. Please also include ``Attn: northern spotted owl 
critical habitat'' in your e-mail subject header. If you do not receive 
a confirmation from the system that we have received your message, 
contact us directly by calling our Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office at 
503-231-6179. Please note that the e-mail address 
[email protected] will be closed out at the termination of 
the public comment period.
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Background

Ecological Considerations

Physical Description and Taxonomy
    The northern spotted owl is a medium-sized owl and the largest of 
the three subspecies of spotted owls currently recognized by the 
American Ornithologists' Union (Gutierrez et al. 1995, p. 2). It is 
dark brown with a barred tail and white spots on the head and breast, 
and has dark brown eyes that are surrounded by prominent facial disks. 
The taxonomic separation of these three subspecies is supported by 
varied characteristics (reviewed in Courtney et al. 2004, pp. 3-3 to 3-
31), including genetic (Barrowclough and Guti[eacute]rrez 1990, p. 739; 
Barrowclough et al. 1999, p. 922; Haig et al. 2004b, p. 1353; 
Barrowclough et al. 2005, p.

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1113), morphological (Guti[eacute]rrez et al. 1995, pp. 2 to 3), 
behavioral (Van Gelder 2003, p. 30) and biogeographical information 
(Barrowclough et al. 1999, p. 928).

Distribution

    The current range of the northern spotted owl extends from 
southwest British Columbia through the Cascade Mountains, coastal 
ranges, and intervening forested lands in Washington, Oregon, and 
California, as far south as Marin County, California (USFWS 1990, pp. 
13, 60; June 26, 1990). The subspecies is listed as threatened under 
the Act throughout its range (55 FR 26114). Within the United States, 
the northern spotted owl ranges across 12 physiographic provinces, 
based on recognized landscape subdivisions exhibiting different 
physical and environmental features (Franklin and Dyrness 1988, pp. 5 
to 26; Thomas et al. 1990, p. 61; USDA and USDI 1994b, p. A-3). These 
include the Olympic Peninsula, Western Washington Lowlands, Western 
Washington Cascades, Eastern Washington Cascades, Oregon Coast Ranges, 
Western Oregon Cascades, Willamette Valley, Eastern Oregon Cascades, 
Oregon Klamath, California Klamath, California Coast Ranges, and 
California Cascades Provinces (based on USDA and USDI 1994b, p. A-3). 
Very few northern spotted owls are found in the Western Washington 
Lowlands or Willamette Valley, however, therefore the subspecies is 
restricted primarily to 10 of the 12 provinces within its range.
Population Status and Trends
    Demographic data, from studies initiated as early as 1985, have 
been analyzed every few years to estimate northern spotted owl 
population trends (Anderson and Burnham 1992; Burnham et al. 1994; 
Franklin et al. 1999; Anthony et al. 2006). The most current evaluation 
of population status and trends is based on data through 2003 (Anthony 
et al. 2006). Based on this analysis, populations on 8 of 12 study 
areas (Wenatchee, Cle Elum, Rainier, Olympic Peninsula, Oregon Coast 
Ranges, Warm Springs, H.J. Andrews, and Simpson) were declining 
(Anthony et al. 2006, p. 23). Estimates of realized population change 
(cumulative population change across all study years) indicated that, 
in the more rapidly declining populations (Wenatchee, Cle Elum, 
Rainier, and Warm Springs), the 2003 populations were 50 to 70 percent 
of the population sizes observed in 1994 or 1995 (Anthony et al. 2006, 
pp. 25 to 26). Populations in the remaining four study areas (Tyee, 
Klamath, South Oregon Cascades, and Hoopa) appear to have remained 
stable through 2003 (Anthony et al. 2006, p. 25). A meta-analysis 
combining data from all 12 study areas indicates that rangewide the 
population declined at a rate of about 3.7 percent per year from 1985 
to 2003. Northern spotted owl populations on Federal lands had better 
demographic rates than elsewhere, but still declined at a mean annual 
rate of about 2.4 percent (Anthony et al. 2006, pp. 33 to 34).
    The barred owl (Strix varia) has recently emerged as a greater 
threat to the northern spotted owl than was previously recognized. The 
range of the barred owl has expanded in recent years and now completely 
overlaps that of the northern spotted owl (Crozier et al. 2006, p. 
761). The presence of barred owls has significant negative effects on 
northern spotted owl reproduction (Olson et al. 2004), survival 
(Anthony et al. 2006), and number of territories occupied (Kelly et al. 
2003, p. 51; Olson et al. 2005). The determination of population trends 
for the northern spotted owl has become complicated by the finding that 
northern spotted owls are less likely to call when barred owls are also 
present, therefore they are likely to be undetected by standard survey 
methods (Olson et al. 2005; Crozier et al. 2006). It is therefore 
difficult to determine whether northern spotted owls no longer occupy a 
site, or whether they may still be present but are not detected. The 
2007 Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted owl concludes that 
``barred owls are exacerbating the spotted owl population decline, 
particularly in Washington, portions of Oregon, and the northern coast 
of California'' (USFWS 2007, p. 126).
    British Columbia has a small population of northern spotted owls. 
This population has declined at least 49 percent since 1992 (Courtney 
et al. 2004, p. 8-14), and by as much as 90 percent since European 
settlement (Chutter et al. 2004, p. 6) to a current breeding population 
estimated at about 23 birds (Sierra Legal Defence [sic] Fund and 
Western Canada Wilderness Committee 2005, p. 16) on 15 sites (Chutter 
et al. 2004, p. 26).
Life History and Ecology
    Northern spotted owls are highly territorial (Courtney et al. 2004, 
p. 2-7), though overlap between the outer portions of the home ranges 
of adjacent pairs is common (Forsman et al. 1984, pp. 5, 17, 22 to 24; 
Solis and Guti[eacute]rrez 1990, p. 742; Forsman et al. 2005, p. 374). 
Pairs are non-migratory and remain on their home range throughout the 
year, though they often increase the area used for foraging during fall 
and winter (Forsman et al. 1984, p. 21; Sisco 1990, p. 9), likely in 
response to potential depletion of prey in the core of their home range 
(Carey et al. 1992, p. 245; Carey 1995a, p. 649; but see Rosenberg et 
al. 1994, pp. 1512 to 1515). The northern spotted owl shows strong 
year-round fidelity to its breeding site, even when not nesting (Solis 
1983, pp. 23 to 28; Forsman et al. 1984, pp. 52 to 53) or after natural 
disturbance alters habitat characteristics within the home range (Bond 
et al. 2002, pp. 1024 to 1026). A discussion of northern spotted owl 
home range size and use is included in the Primary Constituent Elements 
section of this proposed rule.
    Reproductive success of northern spotted owls has been 
characterized as a multi-stage process (Carey and Peeler 1995, p. 236) 
in which natal dispersal and survival to reproductive age are the most 
vulnerable stages. Nomadic adults and juveniles dispersing from their 
natal area serve as sources of replacements for resident northern 
spotted owls that die or leave their home range (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 
295). Habitat supporting movements of northern spotted owls between 
large blocks limits the potentially adverse genetic effects of 
inbreeding and provides demographic support to declining populations 
(Thomas et al. 1990, pp. 271 to 272). A discussion of northern spotted 
owl dispersal is included in the Primary Constituent Elements section 
of this proposed rule.
Prey
    Northern spotted owls forage primarily on arboreal and semi-
arboreal mammals (summarized in Courtney et al. 2004, pp. 4-31 to 4-
32). The primary prey species utilized depends on geographic area, but 
may include northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus), two species 
of woodrats (Neotoma spp.), two species of red-backed voles 
(Clethrionomys spp.), red tree voles (Arborimus longicaudus), two 
species of deer mice (Peromyscus spp.), and two species of lagomorphs 
(rabbits and hares) (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 4-5). Northern spotted 
owls are also known to prey on insects, other terrestrial mammals, 
birds, and juveniles of larger mammals (e.g., mountain beaver 
(Aplodontia rufa), although the use of these prey species is more 
seasonal (mainly spring, summer, and early fall) (Forsman et al. 2001, 
p. 146; Forsman et al. 2004, p. 223).
    There is a clear geographic pattern to the northern spotted owl 
diet that varies with distribution and abundance of prey and habitat 
type (Thomas et al. 1990, p.

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201; Forsman et al. 2001, p. 146; Courtney et al. 2004, p. 4-7). 
Northern flying squirrels are the dominant prey species in the northern 
Western Hemlock/Douglas-fir forests. Dusky-footed woodrats (Neotoma 
fuscipes) are more important in the southern drier, mixed-conifer/
mixed-evergreen forests. Both prey species are co-dominant through the 
southwest interior of Oregon (Courtney et al. 2004, pp. 4-7 to 4-8).
    Northern flying squirrels are nocturnal arboreal rodents and the 
primary prey of northern spotted owls in the northern provinces. 
Forests that support northern flying squirrels provide den sites, 
usually cavities in large snags, but northern flying squirrels may also 
use cavities in live trees, hollow branches of fallen trees, crevices 
in large stumps, stick nests of other species, and lichen and twig 
nests they construct (Carey 1995b, p. 658). Fungi (mychorrhizal and 
epigeous types) are prominent in their diet, however seeds, fruits, 
nuts, vegetation matter, insects, and lichens may also represent a 
significant proportion of their diet (summarized in Courtney et al. 
2004, App. 3-12). Northern flying squirrel densities tend to be higher 
in older forest stands with ericaceous shrubs (e.g., rhododendron) and 
an abundance of large snags (Carey 1995b, p. 654), likely because these 
older forests produce a higher forage biomass. Flying squirrel density 
tends to increase with stand age (Carey 1995b, pp. 653 to 654; Carey 
2000, p. 252), although managed and second-growth stands sometimes also 
show high densities of squirrels, especially when canopy cover is high 
(e.g., Rosenberg and Anthony 1992, p. 163; Lehmkuhl et al. 2006, pp. 
589 to 591). The main factors that may limit northern flying squirrel 
densities are the availability of den structures and food, especially 
hypogeous fungi (Gomez et al. 2005, pp. 1677 to 1678).
    For northern spotted owls in northern California, southwestern 
Oregon, and the Willamette Valley, dusky-footed woodrats constitute the 
primary prey (Carey et al. 1999, p. 65). Habitats that support dusky-
footed woodrats usually include early seral mixed-conifer/mixed 
evergreen forests close to water (Carey et al. 1999, p. 77). Dusky-
footed woodrats reach high densities in both old forests with openings 
and closed-canopy young forests (Sakai and Noon 1993, pp. 376 to 378; 
Carey et al. 1999, p. 73), and use hardwood stands in mixed evergreen 
forests (Carey et al. 1999, p. 73). Dense woodrat populations in 
shrubby areas are likely a source of colonists to surrounding forested 
areas (Sakai and Noon 1997, p. 347), therefore forested areas with 
nearby open, shrubby vegetation generally support high numbers of 
dusky-footed woodrats. The main factors that may limit dusky-footed 
woodrats are access to stable, brushy environments that provide food, 
cover from predation, materials for nest construction, dispersal 
ability, and appropriate climatic conditions (Carey et al. 1999, p. 
78).
Home Range, Forest Condition, Survival, and Reproduction
    Territorial northern spotted owls remain resident on their home 
range throughout the year, therefore, these home ranges must provide 
all of the habitat components needed for the survival and successful 
reproduction of a pair of owls. The home range is composed of a core 
area, the area of most intensive use and nesting, and the remainder of 
the home range which is utilized for additional foraging and roosting. 
In nearly all studies of northern spotted owl nesting habitat, the 
amount of mature and old-growth forest was greater within northern 
spotted owl sites than at random sites at the home range and core area 
scale (Courtney et al. 2004, pp. 5-6, 5-13), and forests were less 
fragmented (Hunter et al. 1995, p. 688). The amount of quality habitat 
at the core area scale shows the strongest relationships with home 
range occupancy (Meyer et al. 1998, p. 34; Zabel et al. 2003, p. 1036), 
survival (Franklin et al. 2000, p. 567; Dugger et al. 2005, p. 873), 
and reproductive success (Ripple et al. 1997, pp. 155 to 156; Dugger et 
al. 2005, p. 871). A more complete description of the home range is 
presented in the Primary Constituent Elements section of this proposed 
rule.
    The size, configuration, and characteristics of vegetation patches 
within core areas affect northern spotted owl survival and 
reproduction, a concept referred to as habitat fitness potential 
(Franklin et al. 2000, p. 542). Among studies that have estimated 
habitat fitness potential, the effects of forest fragmentation and 
heterogeneity vary geographically. In the California Klamath Province, 
locations for nesting and roosting tend to be centered in larger 
patches of old forest, but edges between forest types may provide 
increased prey abundance and availability (Franklin et al. 2000, p. 
579). In the central Oregon Coast Range, northern spotted owls appear 
to benefit from a mixture of older forests with younger forest and non-
forested areas in their home range (Olson et al. 2004, pp. 1049 to 
1050), a pattern similar to that found in the California Klamath 
Province. In contrast, studies conducted in the Oregon Cascades found 
that habitat characteristics were not good predictors of northern 
spotted owl survival or reproduction (Anthony et al. 2002, p. 49). 
Courtney et al. (2004, p. 5-23) suggest that although in general large 
patches of older forest appear to be necessary to maintain stable 
populations of northern spotted owls, core areas composed predominantly 
of old forest may not be optimal for northern spotted owls in the 
California Klamath Province and Oregon Coast Ranges Province.
Habitat Use
    Habitat for northern spotted owls has traditionally been described 
as consisting of four functional types: nesting, roosting, foraging, 
and dispersal habitats. Recent studies continue to support the 
practical value of discussing northern spotted owl habitat usage by 
classifying it into these functional habitat types (Lint 2005; Buchanan 
2004; Forsman et al. 2005; Zabel et al. 2003; Irwin et al. 2000) and 
data from studies are available to describe areas used for these types 
of activities, so we retain it here to structure our discussion of the 
essential features of suitable habitat for the northern spotted owl. 
Detailed characterizations of each of these functional habitat types 
and their relative distribution are described in the Primary 
Constituent Elements section of this proposed rule.

Summary of Conservation Strategies for the Northern Spotted Owl

    Prior and subsequent to the listing of the northern spotted owl (FR 
55 26175), many committees, task forces, and work groups were formed to 
find biologically and socially acceptable solutions to the dilemma of 
halting its decline (Meslow 1993, entire document), commencing in 1982 
with the development of a regional guide for management of the northern 
spotted owl (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 9-3). Today, northern spotted owl 
conservation on Federal lands within the range of the northern spotted 
owl in Washington, Oregon, and California is largely accomplished 
through the Forest Service's Land and Resource Management Plans (LRMP) 
and Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) Resource Management Plans (RMP), 
as amended by the Record of Decision for Amendments to Forest Service 
and BLM Planning Documents within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl 
(USDA and USDI 1994a, p. 31; USDA and USDI 1994b). The LRMPs/RMPs were 
considered to be, in part, the Federal contribution to recovery for the 
northern spotted owl (USDA and USDI 1994a, Appendix G). The work of the

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Interagency Scientific Committee to Address Conservation of the 
Northern Spotted Owl (ISC) in 1990 and its resulting core strategies 
has served as the foundation for subsequent conservation planning, 
including the 1992 Final Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted 
Owl (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 9-3), the original designation of 
critical habitat for the northern spotted owl (57 FR 1796; January 15, 
1992), and the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl 
(USFWS 2007).

Interagency Scientific Committee (ISC)--1990

    The Interagency Scientific Committee (ISC), was chartered in 1989 
by four Federal agencies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest 
Service (FS) and U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land 
Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service, 
to develop a scientific conservation strategy for the northern spotted 
owl (Thomas et al. 1990). In 1992, the Forest Service formally adopted 
the ISC Conservation Strategy for the Northern Spotted Owl as a basis 
for its planned management. However, for a variety of reasons, the plan 
was never implemented (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 9-4).
    The ISC's Conservation Strategy was built on a foundation of five 
conservation biology principles. In general, the ISC favors the 
protection of large blocks of habitat capable of supporting multiple 
pairs of northern spotted owls spaced closely enough to facilitate 
dispersal between the blocks. The results of applying these principles 
were of key importance to the development of this revised critical 
habitat proposal, and are summarized below:
    (1) Large Block Size. The ISC strategy emphasizes the importance of 
managing large and well-distributed blocks of northern spotted owl 
habitat, called Habitat Conservation Areas (HCAs), which are 
sufficiently connected to maintain a stable and well-distributed 
population throughout the northern spotted owl's range. The target 
population for HCAs was derived from empirical data and modeling 
results supporting the conclusion that clusters of 20 pairs of northern 
spotted owls should be stable over the long term, given the rates of 
dispersal among them by juveniles (Thomas et al. 1990, pp. 24, App. O). 
At the time of selection, some HCAs contained sufficient habitat and 
resident northern spotted owls to meet or exceed the 20-pair target, 
while others were deficient in both habitat and pairs. The ISC 
anticipated that northern spotted owl habitat, and therefore the target 
number of pairs, would be recruited over time (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 
23). Large block size was determined based on the target number of 
northern spotted owl pairs and the median provincial home range size of 
pairs. Based on habitat use studies, the median home range used was 
larger in the north (14,271 ac (5,775 ha)) and smaller in the south 
(2,955 ac (1,196 ha)) (Thomas et al. 1990, App. I). Overall, the large 
habitat blocks are considered sufficiently large so that they can 
remain stable over the long run, with low to moderate dispersal from 
adjacent blocks (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 24).
    In areas where the actual habitat conditions, future capability of 
lands to develop into northern spotted owl habitat, and northern 
spotted owl densities did not allow for the large block approach, 
smaller habitat blocks were identified in strategic locations (Thomas 
et al. 1990, p. 28). The ISC recognized that the northern spotted owl 
populations in these smaller blocks were relatively less stable, but 
would still contribute to the metapopulation structure across the 
subspecies' range (Thomas et al. 1990, pp. 27 to 30, 308). The term 
metapopulation refers to a set of local populations linked by 
dispersing individuals. The ISC adopted a metapopulation approach to 
management as an attempt to provide the northern spotted owl with 
habitat distributed across the landscape in a fashion most similar to 
the historical configuration, given existing patterns of fragmentation. 
This approach was considered the best hedge against future extinction 
(Thomas et al. 1990, p. 23).
    (2) Distance Between Habitat Blocks. The success of a northern 
spotted owl conservation strategy based on metapopulation structure 
depends, in part, on dispersal between habitat blocks. Therefore, the 
ISC developed habitat blocks separated by distances well within the 
known dispersal range of juveniles (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 307). For 
the northern spotted owl, the ISC indicates that the distance between 
large habitat blocks should be within the known median dispersal 
distances of at least two-thirds of all juveniles. This translated into 
a maximum allowable distance of 12 mi (19.3 km) between the nearest 
points of contact of neighboring large habitat blocks (Thomas et al. 
1990, p. 307, Table P1).
    Populations in small habitat blocks are inherently less stable and 
more prone to local extinctions than those in large blocks and are 
therefore more reliant on immigration from neighboring blocks to remain 
extant (Thomas et al. 1990, pp. 262, 266, 308). To provide an 
additional measure of population security for the small habitat blocks, 
the ISC set a shorter distance of 7 mi (11.2 km) to the adjacent 
blocks. This was less than the median dispersal distance estimate from 
banded northern spotted owls, and is within the dispersal range of more 
than 75 percent of all radio-marked juveniles (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 
308). This shorter distance was intended to improve the likelihood of 
successful dispersal from adjacent blocks, thereby reducing the 
potential for local extinctions within small habitat blocks (Thomas et 
al. 1990, p. 308).
    (3) Rangewide Distribution. A primary reason for designating 
habitat blocks throughout the northern spotted owl's range was to 
ensure that stochastic events such as large fires or windstorms that 
may occur in a portion of the range would not negatively impact the 
entire population (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 294). The ISC's rangewide 
distribution of large habitat blocks offered some resiliency to 
maintain the subspecies and habitat variation across provinces and 
offered some protection against stressors such as stochastic events 
(e.g., large fires). This conservation principle provides a hedge 
against extinction of the northern spotted owl due to either small or 
large catastrophic events. In addition, large, well-distributed blocks 
of unfragmented habitat may assist the northern spotted owl in 
responding to the barred owl, which has recently expanded its range and 
now overlaps with the range of the northern spotted owl (Herter and 
Hicks 2000, p. 284).
    (4) Contiguous Habitat. The ISC Strategy states that the less 
fragmented the habitat within blocks is, the better habitat will 
function for northern spotted owls. Habitat fragmentation may cause 
habitat deterioration from edge effects, increased risk of predation, 
and potential displacement by barred owls (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 22 to 
23). At the time, information such as that provided by the more recent 
studies in the California Klamath and Oregon Coast Range provinces 
regarding the potential benefits of heterogeneity and forest edge in 
these areas (Franklin et al. 2000, Olson et al. 2004) was not known.
    (5) Dispersal Habitat. Stability of the northern spotted owl 
population under the ISC Conservation Strategy is dependent on the 
movement of individuals among habitat blocks for population support 
(Thomas et al. 1990, p. 26). To facilitate the movement of northern 
spotted owls between blocks, the ISC requires intervening forest lands 
to be managed in a manner that will support dispersing northern spotted 
owls (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 326 to 327).

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Designation of Critical Habitat--1992

    The original designation of critical habitat for the northern 
spotted owl was finalized in 1992 (57 FR 1796; January 15, 1992). 
Critical habitat was identified based on the conservation principles 
set forth in the ISC Conservation Strategy for the Northern Spotted Owl 
(Thomas et al. 1990), including the development and maintenance of 
large contiguous blocks of habitat to support multiple reproducing 
pairs of owls; minimizing fragmentation and edge effect to improve 
habitat quality; minimizing distance between blocks to facilitate 
dispersal; and maintaining rangewide distribution of habitat to 
facilitate recovery (57 FR 1803-1804; January 15, 1992). The emphasis 
on large, continuous blocks of habitat relied on the ISC's 
identification of HCAs as a starting point (Thomas et al. 1990; p. 
315). Category 1 HCAs were those with the potential to support 20 or 
more pairs, and category 2 HCAs were those with the potential to 
support fewer than 20 pairs. Although the ISC had also identified 
category 3 HCAs, areas capable of supporting only a single pair of 
owls, the critical habitat concentrated on areas of sufficient size to 
support at least two pairs. The final critical habitat designation 
included 6,887,000 ac (2,787,070 ha) of Federal lands within the range 
of the northern spotted owl. Of those acres, approximately 5,700,000 ac 
(2,317,073 ha) were within the HCA system proposed by the ISC, and an 
additional 1,887,000 ac (767,073 ha) were designated as a measure to 
further enhance the HCAs already identified (57 FR 1804-1805; January 
15, 1992).

Northern Spotted Owl Final Draft Recovery Plan--1992

    The Department of the Interior began development of a recovery plan 
for the northern spotted owl in 1990. After reviewing a number of 
conservation strategies, the 1992 Recovery Team settled on the ISC 
reserve design (i.e., size and spacing of habitat blocks) as a basis 
for the 1992 Final Draft Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan (USDI 1992, 
p. 357). HCAs were renamed Designated Conservation Areas (DCAs), but 
the category designations remained the same (i.e., a category 1 DCA was 
designed to support at least 20 pairs of northern spotted owls, and a 
category 2 DCA supports from 2 to 19 pairs). The 1992 Recovery Team's 
objective in remapping the HCAs was to provide a level of habitat 
protection in the DCAs that was at least equal to that provided by 
HCAs, while increasing the biological and economic efficiency of the 
network. The fundamental sizing and spacing criteria from Thomas et al. 
(1990) were applied during mapping of the DCAs. The overall structural 
elements developed by the ISC remained, although the draft recovery 
plan was never finalized.

Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team--1993

    The Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team (FEMAT) (USDA et 
al. 1993) was created to provide a review of scientific issues and 
options for a regional plan to manage Federal forests. The primary 
concepts of the FEMAT Option 9 were adopted through the Record of 
Decision for Amendments to Forest Service and BLM Planning Documents 
within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl, signed in 1994, and 
amended the Forest Service LRMPs and BLM RMPs within the range of the 
northern spotted owl relative to the management of habitat for late-
successional and old-growth forest species (USDA and USDI 1994b). The 
principal components that contribute to conserving the northern spotted 
owl include the concepts of large reserve blocks of habitat (managed 
for forests resembling northern spotted owl habitat), connectivity, and 
silviculture treatments to accelerate habitat development, all of which 
were founded on the ISC concepts (Courtney et al. 2004, 9-7).
    The LRMPs/RMPs include a network of reserve allocations called 
Late-Successional Reserves (LSRs) designed, in part, to support 
clusters of reproducing northern spotted owl pairs across the range of 
the subspecies. It should be noted that LSRs are managed to meet the 
need of multiple species that depend on late-successional forests, and 
are not exclusive to management for northern spotted owls. Therefore 
although many LSRs benefit northern spotted owls, not all LSRs 
necessarily represent optimal habitat for northern spotted owls since 
they are intended to provide for other species as well.
    Silvicultural treatment of young forest (less than 80 years of age) 
is allowed within LSRs for the purpose of accelerating the development 
of late-successional habitat. This provision was included because the 
LSRs initially included a significant amount of area that had been 
logged and were in young, plantation-style forests. Because the 
development of large contiguous, unfragmented, blocks of late-
successional forest was a key element of the ISC's strategy, activities 
designed to accelerate restoration of simplified young stands were 
viewed as appropriate.
    The LRMPs/RMPs allow for silvicultural treatments of older forests 
in LSRs on sites characterized by frequent, light to moderate intensity 
fire, such as pine and mixed-conifer dominated forests on the eastern 
slopes of the Cascade Range and in the Siskiyou-Klamath region. This 
provision was included because of the potential for 
uncharacteristically intense wildfire on sites where higher than normal 
amounts of fuel have accumulated. Such fires pose a high risk of 
temporary or even long-term loss of old-growth conditions, including 
northern spotted owl habitat, and treatments may help reduce this risk.

2006/2007 Recovery Planning Process for the Northern Spotted Owl

    In April 2006, the Service convened an interdisciplinary Northern 
Spotted Owl Recovery Team to incorporate the most recent scientific 
information into a current recovery plan for the species. The Recovery 
Team sought input from northern spotted owl experts on the main threats 
to the rangewide northern spotted owl population: competition from 
barred owls, loss of habitat amount and distribution from past 
activities and disturbances, and ongoing habitat loss to timber 
harvest. The Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl (USFWS 
2007) provides two options to address the threats posed by habitat loss 
and modification. Both options are based on the same underlying 
science, much of which is from the ISC (Thomas et al. 1990). Option 1 
maps the specific conservation area boundaries where most of the 
recovery actions and criteria will be targeted. These conservation 
areas are called Managed Owl Conservation Areas, or MOCAs, and are 
mapped in the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan (USFWS 2007). Option 2 of the 
2007 Draft Recovery Plan provides a rule set that defines the size and 
distance of the conservation areas needed for recovery, while 
recognizing that the habitat demands of the northern spotted owl vary 
across its range. The rule set is designed to help guide the Federal 
land management agencies when undertaking conservation actions for the 
northern spotted owl.
    The network of habitat blocks stemming from both options is based 
on the conservation biology strategies of the ISC (Thomas et al. 1990, 
p. 23) and provides the basis for this proposed revised critical 
habitat designation. The 2007 Draft Recovery Plan suggests that the 
recovery of the northern spotted owl can be achieved by managing for 
appropriate habitat on Federal lands within the range of the northern 
spotted owl in the United States, drawing on

[[Page 32455]]

voluntary recovery measures on intervening non-Federal lands. 
Conservation contributions by private, State, and other landowners in 
areas between or adjacent to habitat blocks are expected to increase 
the likelihood of northern spotted owl recovery. Consistent with the 
1992 designation, we have identified only Federal lands as proposed 
revised critical habitat for the northern spotted owl.

Previous Federal Actions

    A description of previous Federal actions up to the time of listing 
on June 26, 1990, can be found in the final rule listing the northern 
spotted owl (55 FR 26114). On January 15, 1992, we published the final 
rule designating critical habitat for the northern spotted owl (57 FR 
1796). In December 1992, we completed the Final Draft Recovery Plan for 
the Northern Spotted Owl in Washington, Oregon, and California (USDI 
1992).
    On April 21, 2003, we published a notice of review initiating a 5-
year review of the northern spotted owl (68 FR 19569). We then 
published a second information request for the 5-year review on July 
25, 2003 (68 FR 44093). We contracted a comprehensive status review of 
the northern spotted owl to provide the best available scientific 
information for the 5-year review. The status review report was 
completed in September 2004 and continues to serve as the most current 
comprehensive summary of scientific information on the northern spotted 
owl (Courtney et al. 2004). We completed the 5-year review on November 
15, 2004, concluding that the northern spotted owl should remain listed 
as a threatened species under the Act.
    On January 13, 2003, we entered into a settlement agreement with 
the American Forest Resource Council, Western Council of Industrial 
Workers, Swanson Group Inc., and Rough & Ready Lumber Company to 
conduct a rulemaking to consider potential revisions to critical 
habitat for the northern spotted owl that includes a revised 
consideration of economic impacts and any other relevant aspects of 
designation. The dates for completion of this review have been extended 
and currently call for the Service to submit a proposed revised 
critical habitat designation to the Federal Register by June 1, 2007, 
and to submit a final revised critical habitat designation to the 
Federal Register by June 1, 2008.

Critical Habitat

    Critical habitat is defined in section 3 of the Act as: (i) The 
specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a species, at 
the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found 
those physical or biological features (I) essential to the conservation 
of the species and (II) that may require special management 
considerations or protection; and (ii) specific areas outside the 
geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed, upon 
a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of 
the species. Conservation, as defined under section 3 of the Act, means 
to use all methods and procedures necessary to bring any endangered 
species or threatened species to the point at which the measures 
provided pursuant to the Act are no longer necessary. Such methods and 
procedures include, but are not limited to, all activities associated 
with scientific resources management such as research, census, law 
enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live 
trapping, and transplantation, and, in the extraordinary case where 
population pressures within a given ecosystem cannot be otherwise 
relieved, may include regulated taking.
    Critical habitat receives protection under section 7 of the Act 
through the prohibition against destruction or adverse modification of 
critical habitat with regard to actions carried out, funded, or 
authorized by a Federal agency. Section 7 requires consultation on 
Federal actions that are likely to result in effects to critical 
habitat. The designation of critical habitat does not affect land 
ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve, or 
other conservation area. Such designation does not allow government or 
public access to private lands. Section 7 is a purely protective 
measure and does not require implementation of restoration, recovery, 
or enhancement measures.
    To be included in a critical habitat designation, the habitat 
within the area occupied by the species must first have features that 
are essential to the conservation of the species. Critical habitat 
designations identify, to the extent known using the best scientific 
data available, habitat areas that provide essential life cycle needs 
of the species (i.e., areas on which are found the primary constituent 
elements, as defined at 50 CFR 424.12(b)).
    Habitat occupied at the time of listing may be included in critical 
habitat only if its essential features may require special management 
or protection. An area currently occupied by the species but not known 
to be occupied at the time of listing will likely, but not always, be 
essential to the conservation of the species and, therefore, typically 
included in the critical habitat designation. When the best available 
scientific data do not demonstrate that the conservation needs of the 
species require additional areas, we will not designate critical 
habitat in areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species 
at the time of listing.
    The Service's Policy on Information Standards Under the Endangered 
Species Act, published in the Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 
34271), and section 515 of the Treasury and General Government 
Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 106-554; H.R. 5658) 
and the associated Information Quality Guidelines issued by the 
Service, provide criteria, establish procedures, and provide guidance 
to ensure that decisions made by the Service represent the best 
scientific data available. They require Service biologists, to the 
extent consistent with the Act and with the use of the best scientific 
data available, to use primary and original sources of information as 
the basis for recommendations to designate critical habitat. When 
determining which areas are eligible for consideration as critical 
habitat, a primary source of information is generally the listing 
package for the species. Additional information sources include the 
recovery plan for the species, articles in peer-reviewed journals, 
conservation plans developed by States and counties, scientific status 
surveys and studies, biological assessments, or other unpublished 
materials and expert opinion or personal knowledge. All information is 
used in accordance with the provisions of section 515 of the Treasury 
and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Pub. L. 
106-554; H.R. 5658) and the associated Information Quality Guidelines 
issued by the Service.
    Section 4 of the Act requires that we designate critical habitat on 
the basis of the best scientific data available. Habitat is often 
dynamic, and species may move from one area to another over time. 
Furthermore, we recognize that designation of critical habitat may not 
include all of the habitat areas that may eventually be determined to 
be necessary for the recovery of the species. For these reasons, 
critical habitat designations do not signal that habitat outside the 
designation is unimportant or may not be required for recovery.
    Areas that support populations, but are outside the critical 
habitat designation, will continue to be subject to conservation 
actions implemented under section 7(a)(1) of the Act and to the 
regulatory protections afforded by

[[Page 32456]]

the section 7(a)(2) jeopardy standard, as determined on the basis of 
the best available information at the time of the action. Federally 
funded or permitted projects affecting listed species outside their 
designated critical habitat areas may still result in jeopardy findings 
in some cases. Similarly, critical habitat designations made on the 
basis of the best available information at the time of designation will 
not control the direction and substance of future recovery plans, 
habitat conservation plans, or other species conservation planning 
efforts if new information available to these planning efforts calls 
for a different outcome.

Methods

    As required by section 4(b)(2) of the Act, we use the best 
scientific data available in determining areas that contain the 
features that are essential to the conservation of the northern spotted 
owl. For this critical habitat revision, we relied upon a variety of 
information sources to identify those areas, as well as to assess the 
habitat requirements of the species, including the 2007 Draft Recovery 
Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl (USFWS 2007), the 2004 Status Review 
for the Northern Spotted Owl (Courtney et al. 2004), the Northern 
Spotted Owl 5-year Review (USFWS 2004), the Final Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision for Amendments to 
Forest Service and BLM Planning Documents within the Range of the 
Northern Spotted Owl (USDA and USDI 1994 a, b), the 1992 final critical 
habitat designation (57 FR 1796; January 15, 1992), Interagency 
Scientific Committee Conservation Strategy for the Northern Spotted Owl 
(Thomas et al. 1990), and GIS data layers, including those for northern 
spotted owl habitat, Federal land use allocations, land ownership, and 
northern spotted owl occupancy data. This proposed rule only addresses 
revisions to the current designation. For discussion of the methods 
used for the existing designation, please refer to that final 
designation (57 FR 1796; January 15, 1992).

Primary Constituent Elements

    In accordance with section 3(5)(A)(i) of the Act and regulations at 
50 CFR 424.12, in determining which areas to propose as critical 
habitat, we consider physical and biological features (primary 
constituent elements, or PCEs) that are essential to the conservation 
of the species, and within the area occupied by the species at the time 
of listing, that may require special management considerations and 
protection. These include, but are not limited to, space for individual 
and population growth and for normal behavior; food, water, air, light, 
minerals, or other nutritional or physiological requirements; cover or 
shelter; sites for breeding, reproduction, and rearing (or development) 
of offspring; and habitats that are protected from disturbance or are 
representative of the historic geographical and ecological 
distributions of a species.
    The specific primary constituent elements required for the northern 
spotted owl are derived from the biological needs of the species as 
described in the Background section of this proposal and the following 
information.

Space for Population Growth and for Normal Behavior

    Northern spotted owls remain on their home range throughout the 
year therefore this area must provide all the habitat components and 
prey needed to provide for the survival and successful reproduction of 
a territorial pair. The home range of a northern spotted owl is 
relatively large and varies in size among and within provinces, 
generally increasing to the north (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 5-24; 55 FR 
25117) where home range size ranges from 2,955 ac (1,196 ha) in the 
Oregon Cascades (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 194) to 14,271 ac (5,775 ha) on 
the Olympic Peninsula (USDI 1992, p. 23; USFWS 1994 in litt., p. 1). 
Northern spotted owl home ranges are generally larger where northern 
flying squirrels are the predominant prey and smaller where woodrats 
are the predominant prey (Zabel et al. 1995, p. 436). Home range size 
also increases with increasing forest fragmentation (Carey et al. 1992, 
p. 235; Franklin and Guti?rrez 2002, p. 212; Glenn et al. 2004, p. 45) 
and decreasing proportions of nesting habitat on the landscape (Carey 
et al. 1992, p. 235; Forsman et al. 2005, p. 374), suggesting that 
northern spotted owls increase the size of their home ranges to 
encompass adequate amounts of suitable forest types (Forsman et al. 
2005, p. 374).
    Northern spotted owl home ranges contain two distinct use areas: 
the core area, which is the area that is used most intensively and 
usually includes the nesting area (Bingham and Noon 1997, pp. 134 to 
135), and the remainder of the home range which is used for foraging 
and roosting. The size of core areas varies considerably across the 
subspecies? geographic range following a pattern similar to that of 
home range size (Bingham and Noon 1997, p. 133), varying from over 
4,057 ac (1,642 ha) in the northernmost (flying squirrel prey) 
provinces (Forsman et al. 2005, pp. 370, 375) to less than 500 ac (202 
ha) in the southernmost (dusky-footed woodrat prey) provinces (Pious 
1995, pp. 9 to 10, Table 2; Zabel et al. 2003, pp. 1036 to 1038).
    Core areas contain greater proportions of mature/old forest than 
random or non-use areas (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 5-13), and the 
quality of habitat at the core area scale shows the strongest 
relationships with occupancy (Meyer et al. 1998, p. 34; Zabel et al. 
2003, pp. 1027, 1036), survival (Franklin et al. 2000, p. 567; Dugger 
et al. 2005, p. 873), and reproductive success (Ripple et al. 1997, pp. 
155 to 156; Dugger et al. 2005, p. 871). In some areas, edges between 
forest types within northern spotted owl home ranges may provide 
increased prey abundance and availability (Franklin et al. 2000, p. 
579). For successful reproduction, core areas need to contain one or 
more forest stands that have both the structural attributes and the 
location relative to other features in the home range that allow them 
to fulfill nesting, roosting, and foraging functions (Carey and Peeler 
1995, pp. 233 to 236; Rosenberg and McKelvey 1999, pp. 1035 to 1037).
    The primary function of the remainder of the home range outside the 
core area is to provide subsidiary roosting and foraging opportunities 
for the resident pair that are essential to the year-round survival of 
the resident pair if they partially deplete the prey populations in the 
core area.

Sites for Breeding, Reproduction, and Rearing of Offspring (Nesting)

    Nesting habitat provides structural features for nesting, 
protection from adverse weather conditions, and cover to reduce 
predation risks for adults and young. Nesting stands typically include 
a moderate to high canopy closure (60 to 80 percent); a multi-layered, 
multi-species canopy with large (greater than 30 inches (in) (76 
centimeters (cm)) diameter at breast height (dbh)) overstory trees; a 
high incidence of large trees with various deformities (e.g., large 
cavities, broken tops, mistletoe infections, and other evidence of 
decadence); large snags; large accumulations of fallen trees and other 
woody debris on the ground; and sufficient open space below the canopy 
for northern spotted owls to fly (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 164; 57 FR 
1798).
    Recent studies found that northern spotted owl nest stands tend to 
have greater tree basal area, number of canopy layers, density of 
broken-top trees, number or basal area of decadent snags, and volume of 
decadent logs (Courtney et al. 2004, pp. 5-16 to 5-19, 5-23). In some 
forest types, northern

[[Page 32457]]

spotted owls nest in younger forest stands that contain structural 
characteristics of older forests. Nesting northern spotted owls 
consistently occupy stands having high canopy cover that may provide 
thermoregulatory benefits (Weathers et al. 2001, p. 686), allowing 
northern spotted owls a wider range of choices for locating thermally-
neutral roosts near the nest site. High canopy closure may also conceal 
northern spotted owls, reducing potential predation.
    To support northern spotted owl reproduction, a home range requires 
appropriate amounts of nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat arrayed 
so that nesting pairs can use it efficiently and safely. In the 
northern parts of the range where nesting, roosting, and foraging 
habitat have similar attributes, nesting is generally associated with 
increasing old forest in the core area (Swindle et al. 1999, p. 1216). 
In some portions of the range in the south, northern spotted owl 
survival is positively associated with the area of old forest habitat 
in the core, but reproductive output is positively associated with 
amount of edge between older forest and other habitat types in the home 
range (Franklin et al. 2000, pp. 573, 579). This pattern suggests that 
where dusky-footed woodrats are the primary prey species, core areas 
that have nesting habitat stands interspersed with varied types of 
foraging habitat may be optimal for northern spotted owl survival and 
reproduction. The appropriate amount and spatial distribution of 
nesting habitat is essential for successful reproduction of northern 
spotted owls.

Cover or Shelter (Roosting)

    The primary functions of roosting habitat are to facilitate 
thermoregulation in summer or winter, shelter northern spotted owls 
from precipitation, and provide cover to reduce predation risk while 
resting or foraging. Studies of roosting locations found that northern 
spotted owls tended to use stands with greater vertical canopy layering 
(Mills et al. 1993, pp. 318 to 319), canopy closure (King 1993, p. 45), 
snag diameter (Mills et al. 1993, pp. 318 to 319), diameter of large 
trees (Herter et al. 2002, pp. 437, 441), and amounts of large woody 
debris (Chow 2001, p. 24; reviewed in Courtney et al. 2004, pp. 5-14 to 
4-16, 5-23). The characteristics of roosting habitat differ from those 
of nesting habitat only in that roosting habitat need not contain the 
specific structural features used for nesting (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 
62).

Food or Other Nutritional or Physiological Requirements (Foraging)

    The primary function of foraging habitat is to provide a food 
supply for survival and reproduction. Foraging activity is positively 
associated with tree height diversity (North et al. 1999, p. 524), 
canopy closure (Irwin et al. 2000, p. 180; Courtney et al. 2004, p. 5-
15), snag volume, density of snags greater than 20 in (50 cm) dbh 
(North et al. 1999, p. 524; Irwin et al. 2000, pp. 179 to 180; Courtney 
et al. 2004, p. 5-15), density of trees greater than or equal to 31 in 
(80 cm) dbh (North et al. 1999, p. 524), volume of woody debris (Irwin 
et al. 2000, pp. 179 to 80), and young forests with some structural 
characteristics of old forests (Carey et al. 1992, pp. 245 to 247; 
Irwin et al. 2000, pp. 178 to 179). Northern spotted owls select old 
forests for foraging in greater proportion than its availability at the 
landscape scale (Carey et al. 1992, pp. 236 to 237; Carey and Peeler 
1995, p. 235; Forsman et al. 2005, pp. 372 to 373), but will forage in 
younger stands with high prey densities and access to prey (Carey et 
al. 1992, p. 247; Rosenberg and Anthony 1992, p. 165; Thome et al. 
1999, pp. 56 to 57).
    Because northern spotted owls show a clear geographic pattern in 
diet, and different prey species prefer different habitat types, prey 
distribution contributes to differences in northern spotted owl 
foraging habitat selection across the range. In the northern portion of 
their range, northern spotted owls forage heavily in older forests or 
forests with similar structure that support northern flying squirrels 
(Rosenberg and Anthony 1992, p. 165; Carey et al. 1992, p. 233). In the 
southern portion of their range, where woodrats are a major component 
of their diet, northern spotted owls are more likely to use a variety 
of stands, including younger stands, brushy openings in older stands, 
and edges between forest types in response to higher prey density in 
some of these areas (Solis 1983, pp. 89 to 90; Sakai and Noon 1993, pp. 
376 to 378; Carey et al. 1999, p. 73; Sakai and Noon 1997, p. 347; 
Franklin et al. 2000, p. 579). An adequate amount and distribution of 
foraging habitat within the home range is essential to the survival and 
reproduction of northern spotted owls.

Habitats That Are Representative of the Historical Geographical and 
Ecological Distributions of the Northern Spotted Owl

    The northern spotted owl inhabits most of the major types of 
coniferous forests across its geographic range, including Sitka spruce, 
western hemlock, mixed conifer and mixed evergreen, grand fir, Pacific 
silver fir, Douglas-fir, redwood/Douglas-fir (in coastal California and 
southwestern Oregon), white fir, Shasta red fir, and the moist end of 
the ponderosa pine zone (Forsman et al. 1984; Franklin and Dyrness 
1988; Thomas et al. 1990). Vegetative composition of northern spotted 
owl habitat changes from north to south and from west to east within 
the subspecies' range. The lower elevation limit of subalpine 
vegetation types defines the uppermost elevation used by northern 
spotted owls. This elevation varies with latitude from about 3,000 feet 
(ft) (914 meters (m)) above sea level near the northern edge of the 
range to about 6,000 ft (1,828 m) above sea level at the southern edge 
(Lint 2005, p. 32).
    Historically, forest types occupied by the northern spotted owl 
were fairly continuous, particularly in the wetter parts of its range 
in coastal northern California and most of western Oregon and 
Washington. Suitable forest types in the drier parts of the range 
(interior northern California, interior southern Oregon, and east of 
the Cascade crest in Oregon and Washington) occur in a mosaic pattern 
interspersed with infrequently used vegetation types such as open 
forests, shrubby areas, and grasslands. In the Klamath Mountains 
Provinces in Oregon and California, and to a lesser extent in the Coast 
and Cascade Provinces of California, large areas of serpentine soils 
exist that are typically not capable of supporting northern spotted owl 
habitat (Lint 2005, pp. 31 to 33).

Conditions Supporting Non-Resident Owls

    Landscapes with northern spotted owl habitat likely contain non-
resident (non-breeding) northern spotted owls, sometimes referred to as 
``floaters'' (Forsman et al. 2002, pp. 15, 26). These habitats 
contribute to stable or increasing populations of northern spotted owls 
by maintaining sufficient individuals to quickly fill territorial 
vacancies when residents die or leave their territories. Where large 
blocks of habitat with multiple breeding pairs occur, the opportunities 
for this integration are enhanced due to the within-block production of 
potential replacement birds (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 295, 307).
    Intervening habitats are important in supporting the successful 
dispersal of northern spotted owls that is essential to maintaining the 
genetic and demographic connection among populations both within and 
across

[[Page 32458]]

provinces. Habitats that support movements between larger blocks 
providing nesting, roosting, and foraging habitats for northern spotted 
owls act to limit the adverse genetic effects of inbreeding and provide 
demographic support to declining populations (Thomas et al. 1990, pp. 
271 to 272). Dispersing juvenile northern spotted owls experience high 
mortality rates (more than 70 percent in some studies (Miller 1989, pp. 
32 to 41; Franklin et al. 1999, pp. 25, 28; 55 FR 26115)) from 
starvation, predation, and accidents (Miller 1989, pp. 41 to 44; 
Forsman et al. 2002, pp. 18 to 19). Juvenile dispersal is thus a highly 
vulnerable life stage for northern spotted owls, and enhancing the 
survivorship of juveniles during this period could play an important 
role in maintaining stable populations of northern spotted owls.
    Juvenile dispersal occurs in steps (Forsman et al. 2002, pp. 13 to 
14) between which dispersing juveniles settle into temporary home 
ranges for up to several months (Forsman et al. 2002, p. 13). During 
the transience (movement) phase, dispersers used mature and old-growth 
forest slightly more than its availability; during the colonization 
phase, mature and old-growth forest was used at nearly twice its 
availability (Miller et al. 1997, p. 144). Closed pole-sapling-
sawtimber habitat was used roughly in proportion to availability in 
both phases and may represent the minimum condition for movement. Open 
sapling and clearcuts were used less than expected based on 
availability during colonization (Miller et al. 1997, p. 145).
    Successful juvenile dispersal may depend on locating unoccupied 
suitable habitat in close proximity to other occupied sites (LaHaye et 
al. 2001, pp. 697 to 698). Natal dispersal distances, measured from 
natal areas to eventual home range, tend to be larger for females 
(about 15 mi (24 km)) than males (about 8.5 mi (13.7 km)) (Courtney et 
al. 2004, p. 8-5). Approximately 68 percent of radio-marked juveniles 
of both sexes dispersed greater than 12 mi (19 km) from their natal 
areas, which was also the average dispersal distance. Approximately 80 
percent dispersed greater than 7 mi (11 km) from their natal areas 
(Thomas et al. 1990, pp. 305 to 306). Northern spotted owls regularly 
disperse through highly fragmented forested landscapes that are typical 
of the mountain ranges in western Washington and Oregon (Forsman et al. 
2002, p. 22), and have dispersed from the Coastal Mountains to the 
Cascades Mountains in the broad forested regions between the 
Willamette, Umpqua, and Rogue Valleys of Oregon (Forsman et al. 2002, 
p. 22). Corridors of forest through fragmented landscapes serve 
primarily to support relatively rapid movement through such areas, 
rather than colonization.

Primary Constituent Elements for the Northern Spotted Owl

    Under our regulations, we are required to identify the known 
physical and biological features (PCEs) essential to the conservation 
of the northern spotted owl. All areas proposed as revised critical 
habitat for the northern spotted owl are within the geographic area 
occupied by the species and contain sufficient PCEs to support at least 
one life history function. Much of the recent research on northern 
spotted owl biology supports the PCEs described in the previous 
critical habitat designation; based on our current knowledge, the PCEs 
described here are more detailed and specific, where possible. Based on 
our current knowledge of the life history, biology, and ecology of the 
species and the requirements of the habitat to sustain the essential 
life history functions of the species, we have determined that the 
northern spotted owl's PCEs are:
    (1) Forest types known to support the northern spotted owl across 
its geographic range. These forest types include Sitka spruce, western 
hemlock, mixed conifer and mixed evergreen, grand fir, Pacific silver 
fir, Douglas-fir, white fir, Shasta red fir, redwood/Douglas-fir (in 
coastal California and southwestern Oregon), and the moist end of the 
ponderosa pine coniferous forests zones at elevations up to 3,000 ft 
(914 m) near the northern edge of the range and up to about 6,000 ft 
(1,828 m) at the southern edge.
    This PCE provides the biotic communities that are known to support 
the northern spotted owl across its geographic range. The northern 
spotted owl and some of its primary prey species do not reproduce 
successfully outside these biotic communities.
    (2) Forest types as described in PCE 1 of sufficient area, quality, 
and configuration, or that have the ability to develop these 
characteristics, to meet the home range needs of territorial pairs of 
northern spotted owls throughout the year. A home range must provide 
all of the habitat components and prey needed to provide for the 
survival and successful reproduction of a resident breeding pair of 
northern spotted owls. As detailed earlier, home range and core area 
sizes vary widely both within and among physiographic provinces across 
the range of the northern spotted owl (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 5-24). 
Core areas, which usually include the nesting habitat, may range from 
over 4,057 ac (1,642 ha) in the north (Forsman et al. 2005, pp. 369 to 
370) to fewer than 500 ac (202 ha) in the south (Pious 1995, pp. 9 to 
10, Table 2; Meyer et al. 1998, p. 34; Zabel et al. 2003, pp. 1036 to 
1038; Glenn et al. 2004, p. 41). Home range sizes range from 2,955 ac 
(1,196 ha) in the Oregon Cascades (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 194) to 
14,271 ac (5,775 ha) on the Olympic Peninsula (USDI 1992, p. 23; USFWS 
1994, in litt., p. 1). Many factors may influence the size of the home 
range utilized by northern spotted owls, including the degree of 
habitat fragmentation, proportion of available nesting habitat, and 
primary prey species. The three habitat components required within the 
home range of a northern spotted owl include:
    (a) Nesting Habitat. Habitat that includes a moderate to high 
canopy closure (60 to 80 percent); a multi-layered, multi-species 
canopy with large (generally greater than 30 in (76 cm) dbh) overstory 
trees; a high incidence of large trees with various deformities (e.g., 
large cavities, broken tops, mistletoe infections, and other 
platforms); large snags; large accumulations of fallen trees and other 
woody debris on the ground; and sufficient open space below the canopy 
for northern spotted owls to fly. Patches of nesting habitat, in 
combination with roosting habitat (PCE 2-(b)) need to be sufficiently 
large and contiguous to maintain northern spotted owl core areas and 
home ranges, and be in a spatial arrangement with foraging habitat (PCE 
2-(c)) that allows efficient provisioning of young at the nest.
    (b) Roosting Habitat. Roosting habitat differs from nesting habitat 
in that it need not contain those specific structural features used for 
nesting (cavities, broken tops, and mistletoe platforms). As such, it 
generally includes moderate to high canopy closure; a multi-layered, 
multi-species canopy; large accumulations of fallen trees and other 
woody debris on the ground; and sufficient open space below the canopy 
for northern spotted owls to fly.
    (c) Foraging Habitat. Foraging habitat provides a food supply for 
survival and reproduction of northern spotted owls and includes a wider 
array of forest types than nesting and roosting habitat, particularly 
more open and fragmented forests. While some foraging habitat has 
attributes that closely resemble those of nesting and roosting habitat, 
especially in the northern portions of the subspecies' range, some 
younger stands without all these attributes are used for foraging, 
especially in the southern portion of the range. Some younger stands 
may have high prey abundance

[[Page 32459]]

and some structural attributes similar to those of older forests, such 
as moderate tree density, subcanopy perches at multiple levels, multi-
layered vegetation, or residual older trees. To be fully functional for 
northern spotted owls, foraging habitat generally contains some 
roosting habitat attributes.
    This PCE includes all three habitat types (nesting, roosting, and 
foraging) and provides the forest structural characteristics needed for 
successful nesting, reproduction, and survival of northern spotted owls 
on their home ranges. These are primarily characteristics of old and 
mature forests, or younger forests with some structural and 
microclimatic characteristics of mature forests. These forests provide 
the specific structures required for nesting; shelter from adverse 
weather conditions; cover that reduces predation risk while nesting, 
after young fledge, and while roosting; and microclimatic conditions 
that enhance thermoregulation. This PCE also provides the forest 
structure necessary to provide accessible prey for the survival and 
reproduction of northern spotted owls on their home ranges. This 
habitat supports the abundance, diversity, and availability of prey 
necessary for feeding both adults and young.
    (3) Dispersal habitat. The successful dispersal of northern spotted 
owls between habitat blocks is required to maintain stable populations 
and provide for adequate gene flow across the range of the species. The 
dispersal of juveniles requires habitat supporting both the transience 
and colonization phases. Habitat supporting the transience phase of 
dispersal includes, at a minimum, stands with adequate tree size and 
canopy closure to provide protection from avian predators and at least 
minimal foraging opportunities. This may include younger and less 
diverse forest stands than foraging habitat, such as even-aged, pole-
sized stands. These stands still require the interspersion of some 
roosting structures and foraging habitat to allow for temporary resting 
and feeding during the movement phase. Settling of juveniles may be 
temporary (a few months) or extended (colonization). Small openings in 
forest habitat do not appear to hinder the dispersal of northern 
spotted owls (they are known to disperse through highly fragmented 
forests), but large, non-forested valleys, such as the Willamette 
Valley apparently serve as barriers to both natal and breeding 
dispersal (Forsman et al. 2002, p. 22). Habitat supporting colonization 
is generally equivalent to roosting and foraging habitat and is 
described in PCEs 2-(b) and 2-(c), although it may be in smaller 
amounts than that needed to support nesting pairs (PCE 2-(a)). 
Dispersal habitats will typically occur in the intervening areas 
between larger blocks of forest that provide nesting, foraging, and 
roosting habitats for resident northern spotted owls, and are essential 
in providing for successful movement of both juveniles and adults 
between these blocks.
    This PCE describes the features of habitats that allow for the 
successful dispersal of northern spotted owls between habitat blocks to 
maintain genetic variability and promote stable or increasing 
populations across the subspecies' range, including habitat supporting 
safe movement, foraging, and roosting. As dispersing northern spotted 
owls, particularly juveniles, experience high levels of mortality, the 
provision of adequate habitat to provide for successful dispersal is 
essential to the conservation of the species.
    This proposed revised designation is designed for the conservation 
of PCEs necessary to support the life history functions that are the 
basis for the proposal. Because not all life history functions require 
all the PCEs, not all proposed revised critical habitat will contain 
all the PCEs.
    Units are proposed for designation based on sufficient PCEs being 
present to support one or more of the species' life history functions. 
Some units contain all PCEs and support multiple life processes, while 
some units contain only a portion of the PCEs necessary to support the 
species' particular use of that habitat.

Criteria Used To Identify Critical Habitat

    As required by section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act, we used the best 
scientific data available in determining areas that contain the 
features that are essential to the conservation of the northern spotted 
owl. This proposed revision to critical habitat relies upon on the 
biology and information discussed in the final rule designating the 
current critical habitat for northern spotted owl (57 FR 1796; January 
15, 1992), the Record of Decision for Amendments to Forest Service and 
BLM Planning Documents within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl 
(USDA and USDI 1994b), and the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan for the 
Northern Spotted Owl (USFWS 2007). These planning efforts were based on 
creating and managing large blocks of northern spotted owl habitat to 
support local populations spaced in a manner that allows for the 
successful movement of dispersing individuals between these blocks. We 
do not propose to designate areas outside the geographical area 
presently occupied by the species since the species currently occurs 
throughout its historical range, albeit in very low numbers in some 
areas.
    We used the following criteria to select specific areas as revised 
critical habitat:
    (1) Focus on Federal Lands. The foundation of the current recovery 
strategy, as set forth in the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern 
Spotted Owl (USFWS 2007), is a network of owl conservation areas (i.e., 
habitat blocks) located on Federal lands. Therefore, we considered only 
Federal lands to be essential to the conservation of the northern 
spotted owl for the purposes of designating critical habitat. 
Wilderness Areas, National Parks and many other lands under various 
Federal land use allocations contribute to the conservation of the 
northern spotted owl, but the majority of management for northern 
spotted owls on Federal lands in Washington, Oregon, and California is 
largely accomplished through the Forest Service's LRMPs and the BLM's 
RMPs, as amended by the Record of Decision for Amendments to Forest 
Service and BLM Planning Documents within the Range of the Northern 
Spotted Owl (USDA and USDI 1994a, b).
    We are not proposing to modify the decision made in our 1992 
designation that Wilderness Areas and National Parks do not meet the 
statutory definition of critical habitat under section 3(5)(A) of the 
Act, therefore these areas are not proposed as critical habitat here. 
Due to data and time constraints, some of the mapped critical habitat 
units in California include newly designated Wilderness Areas (PL 109-
362, October 17, 2006). However, all critical habitat units in 
California will be adjusted to be consistent with our approach to 
Wilderness Areas in Oregon and Washington and will be removed from the 
final critical habitat designation.
    In some areas of limited Federal ownership, private and State lands 
may help to expedite the recovery of the northern spotted owl by 
providing demographic support and connectivity to facilitate dispersal 
among habitat blocks. These voluntary habitat contributions are 
expected to increase the likelihood that northern spotted owl recovery 
will be achieved, shorten the time needed to achieve recovery, and 
reduce management risks associated with the recovery strategy and 
recovery actions. Consistent with the 1992 designation, we did not 
include non-Federal lands in the proposed revised designation of 
critical habitat.

[[Page 32460]]

    (2) Lands Supporting the Primary Constituent Elements. We selected 
only lands that contain one or more of the PCEs described above, using 
Federal agency maps of nesting, roosting, or foraging habitat for 
northern spotted owls. Dispersal habitats were identified as necessary 
to meet the requisite spacing between habitat blocks to allow for the 
successful dispersal of northern spotted owls, as identified in the 
2007 Draft Recovery Plan.
    (3) Occupied Habitat. Consistent with the 1992 designation, we 
included only lands within the geographical area occupied by the 
species in the revised designation since the most recent assessments do 
not indicate that any presently unoccupied habitat is essential to the 
conservation of the species (Courtney et al. 2004, USFWS 2007).
    (4) Large and Small Habitat Blocks. We relied on the 2007 Draft 
Recovery Plan recommendations regarding contiguity, habitat quality, 
spacing, and distribution within the range of the northern spotted owl 
to select large contiguous blocks of quality habitat, where possible, 
for critical habitat units (USFWS 2007). The 2007 Draft Recovery Plan 
recommends that habitat blocks need to be large enough to support 
clusters of at least 20 pairs of northern spotted owls, where possible. 
The size of such blocks was derived from empirical data and modeling 
results concluding that clusters of northern spotted owls approximating 
20 pairs should be stable over the long term, given the rate of 
juvenile dispersal between clusters (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 24 and 
Appendix O). The size of such large blocks will vary based on the 
provincial home range size (see PCE 2). In some areas, existing 
conditions precluded designation of relatively large habitat blocks, 
and some smaller blocks are proposed for designation to provide habitat 
for fewer than 20 northern spotted owl pairs. These blocks were 
delineated to accommodate juvenile dispersal distance and to provide 
options for resident northern spotted owls. In some cases they may 
provide ``stepping stones'' where northern spotted owls dispersing from 
one large block may settle, produce young, and those young may then 
disperse to another large block, thereby facilitating genetic transfer 
between more distant large habitat blocks. The smaller blocks are 
intended to assist the populations in these areas by reducing the 
potential for local extinction and supporting the adjacent larger 
blocks thereby providing an interacting network of northern spotted owl 
populations (Thomas et al. 1990, pp. 285, 320).
    (5) Dispersal Distance Between Blocks. As described in the 2007 
Draft Recovery Plan, the success of the conservation strategy for the 
northern spotted owl depends on the relatively frequent dispersal of 
individuals between large habitat blocks; therefore the blocks must be 
separated by distances within the known dispersal distance of juveniles 
(Thomas et al. 1990, p. 307). Based on the observed dispersal distances 
of juveniles, the maximum allowable distance between the nearest points 
of contact of neighboring large habitat blocks is 12 mi (19 km) (Thomas 
et al. 1990, p. 307, Table P1). To provide an additional measure of 
successful dispersal security for the smaller blocks, a shorter 
distance of 7 mi (11 km) (Thomas et al. 1990, p. 308) was used. Current 
available scientific information continues to support the principles 
applied by the ISC (Courtney et al. 2004).
    (6) Habitats Representative of the Historical Geographical and 
Ecological Distribution of the Northern Spotted Owl. Habitats that are 
representative of the historic geographical and ecological 
distributions of the northern spotted owl are more likely to sustain 
the species over time. The northern spotted owl has historically 
occupied a wide range of forested habitat types across the various 
physiographic provinces within its range. Therefore, this revision 
proposes to define critical habitat units distributed at appropriate 
dispersal distances throughout the range of the northern spotted owl in 
order to conserve and maintain the variation represented by these 
provincial populations rangewide.
    We worked closely with the BLM and Forest Service to identify 
blocks of habitat within their management jurisdiction that would meet 
all of the criteria specified above. As a result of this coordination, 
we are proposing that the Managed Owl Conservation Areas as defined in 
Option 1 of the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl 
(USFWS 2007, p. 140) constitute the critical habitat units on Forest 
Service lands. On BLM lands in Oregon, we are proposing the location of 
critical habitat units consistent with Option 2 of the 2007 Draft 
Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl which employs a habitat 
selection rule-set to define areas needed for long-term conservation 
(USFWS 2007, p. 158). These mapping strategies are based on the 
Interagency Scientific Committee's report ``A Conservation Strategy for 
the Northern Spotted Owl'' (Thomas et al. 1990). The 2004 Scientific 
Evaluation of the Status of the Northern Spotted Owl (Courtney et al. 
2004) confirmed the continuing scientific validity of this conservation 
strategy. BLM lands in the range of the northern spotted owl in 
California were mapped based on Managed Owl Conservation Areas 
identified in the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan, similar to that applied on 
Forest Service lands throughout the range of the northern spotted owl.
    When determining proposed revised critical habitat boundaries, we 
made every effort to avoid including developed areas such as buildings, 
paved areas, and other structures that lack PCEs for the northern 
spotted owl. The scale of the maps prepared under the parameters for 
publication within the Code of Federal Regulations may not reflect the 
exclusion of such developed areas. Any such structures and the land 
under them left inside revised critical habitat boundaries shown on the 
maps of this proposed rule have been excluded by text in the proposed 
rule and are not proposed for designation as critical habitat. 
Therefore, Federal actions limited to these areas would not trigger 
section 7 consultation, unless they affect the species or primary 
constituent elements in adjacent critical habitat.
    We are proposing to designate revised critical habitat within the 
geographical area occupied by the northern spotted owl, and in areas 
that contain sufficient primary constituent elements to support life 
history functions essential for the conservation of the species.
    Critical habitat units are proposed for revised designation based 
on sufficient PCEs being present to support northern spotted owl life 
processes. Some units contain all PCEs and support multiple life 
processes. Some units contain only a portion of the PCEs necessary to 
support the northern spotted owl's particular use of that habitat.

Special Management Considerations or Protections

    When designating critical habitat, we assess whether the areas 
determined to be occupied at the time of listing and contain the 
primary constituent elements may require special management 
considerations or protections. The primary threats to the northern 
spotted owl include competition with barred owls and the loss, 
degradation, and fragmentation of habitat.
    The 2007 Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl (Plan) 
identifies competition from the barred owl as one of the most 
significant threats currently facing the northern spotted owl (USFWS 
2007). The Plan expresses the need for urgency in addressing the barred 
owl threat, and actions associated with

[[Page 32461]]

addressing the barred owl threat were the only actions to be given 
recovery priority number 1, meaning the action ``must be taken to 
prevent extinction or prevent the species from declining irreversibly 
in the foreseeable future.''
    For at least the past 50 years the barred owl has been expanding 
its range from eastern North America across Canada, and into the 
northern Rockies and Pacific States where it has invaded the range of 
the northern spotted owl (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 7-3). Being larger 
and more aggressive, barred owls may compete for habitat, nest sites, 
and prey (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 7-3), may hybridize with northern 
spotted owls, and may occasionally prey on northern spotted owls 
(Leskiw and Guti[eacute]rrez 1998, p. 226). Given the experimental 
nature of direct removal as a technique for barred owl control and the 
absence of any known habitat-based approach that has successfully 
favored northern spotted owls, special management considerations for 
barred owls will need to be developed. Since barred owls can apparently 
utilize all habitats known to be used by northern spotted owls, even if 
those areas are managed for the structural features preferred by 
northern spotted owls, if they are colonized by barred owls the value 
of those areas to northern spotted owls will be reduced or even 
eliminated.
    The loss, degradation, and fragmentation of habitat for the 
northern spotted owl occur primarily as a result of timber harvest or 
natural disturbances such as fire and wind storms (55 FR 26177; June 
26, 1990). Northern spotted owls disproportionately use older forests 
that are typically characterized by large-diameter trees, multiple 
canopy layers, high levels of standing and down woody material, and 
generally complex structure. All of these habitat components can be 
lost as a consequence of timber harvest, fire, or other stochastic 
events.
    Timber harvest has contributed significantly to habitat loss, 
degradation, and fragmentation for the northern spotted owl, and was 
the basis for the original listing of the species (55 FR 26114; June 
26, 1990). As a result of the listing, and the implementation of the 
LRMPs/RMPs as amended by the Record of Decision for Amendments to 
Forest Service and BLM Planning Documents within the Range of the 
Northern Spotted Owl (USDA and USDI 1994b), the threat posed by timber 
harvest on Federal lands has been greatly reduced since 1994. While 
reduced as a threat, timber harvest clearly has the potential to 
remove, degrade, or fragment northern spotted owl habitat.
    Timber management within critical habitat units should maintain or 
enhance the individual habitat components important to nesting, 
roosting, foraging, and dispersal, as well as provide adequate amounts 
and juxtapositions of nesting, roosting, foraging, and dispersal 
habitat. In general, timber management in critical habitat units should 
seek to maintain or enhance the characteristics of older forest, and 
provide large blocks of older forest and associated interior forest 
conditions. In southern portions of the range, harvest plans should 
carefully consider the mix of prey production habitat, interior old 
forest, and the edges between them (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 5-23). Any 
timber management intended to maintain or enhance northern spotted owl 
habitat must take into account regional variation in habitat use and 
associations across the range.
    Habitat losses due to increased wildfire intensity and size may be 
due to excessive fuel buildup resulting from many decades of fire 
suppression. Northern spotted owl habitat is particularly vulnerable in 
some drier eastside forests such as those in the Eastern Washington 
Cascades and the Eastern and Southern Oregon Cascades, as well as other 
provinces such as the Klamath Mountains. In these provinces, recent 
fire losses have been higher than the range of historical variability 
(Courtney et al. 2004, p. 6-32). Fuels reduction treatments, such as 
clearing vegetation, thinning, or prescribed fire, can themselves 
result in the loss, degradation, and fragmentation of northern spotted 
owl habitat. Thus, special management is necessary relative to fire 
management. Fire suppression will likely occur within critical habitat 
units, and fuel treatments should balance the short-term impacts of 
fire hazard reduction projects with the long-term risk of catastrophic 
loss of northern spotted owl habitat (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 6-28).
    Other stochastic events can contribute to loss, degradation, and 
fragmentation of northern spotted owl habitat. Some areas within the 
range of the northern spotted owl have already been negatively impacted 
by these factors, including the east Cascades provinces (wildfire), 
eastern Washington Cascades (insects), southern Oregon (wildfire), and 
eastern Oregon Cascades (insects, disease, wildfire) (Courtney et al. 
2004, p. 6-25). Forest managers have no control over weather events, 
but some factors, such as blowdown or windthrows, can be minimized in 
some areas by management that maintains large, contiguous blocks of 
older forest.
    The loss of large areas of habitat may lead to reduced dispersal 
capability or, in the worst case, barriers to dispersal, which in turn 
can result in small, isolated subpopulations. Recent studies show no 
indication of reduced genetic variation in Washington, Oregon, or 
California (Barrowclough et al. 1999, pp. 927 to 928; Courtney et al. 
2004, p. 11-9; Haig et al. 2004a, p. 683), although Henke et al. (2005 
pp. i, 14) found ``especially low'' genetic diversity in northern 
spotted owls. Any isolation problems that northern spotted owls are 
experiencing today may not be evident in the genetic record for some 
time. Areas of concern for isolation include the northern spotted owl's 
range in Canada, the Olympic Peninsula in Washington, and Marin County 
in California (Courtney et al. 2004, p. 8-24). Because dispersal is an 
essential function for northern spotted owls, fragmentation between 
local populations can have negative effects. We considered the 
distances between critical habitat units and northern spotted owl 
dispersal ecology during proposed revised critical habitat unit 
selection. Special management is required to assure that the 
recommended maximum dispersal distances between blocks of habitat for 
northern spotted owls are not exceeded.

Summary of Changes From Previously Designated Critical Habitat

    In 1992, we designated 6,887,000 ac (2,787,070 ha) of Federal lands 
as critical habitat for the northern spotted owl (57 FR 1796; January 
15, 1992). In this revision, we are proposing that a total of 5,337,839 
ac (2,160,194 ha) be designated as critical habitat for the northern 
spotted owl. We have proposed the revised designation of critical 
habitat for the northern spotted owl to be consistent with the most 
current assessment of the conservation needs of the species, as 
described in the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl 
(USFWS 2007). Although the recovery plan for the northern spotted owl 
has not yet been finalized, it nonetheless represents the most current 
conservation guidance for the species, therefore we looked to the 
recommendations of the 2007 draft recovery plan to inform this proposed 
revised designation of critical habitat. Of the proposed designation, 
4,468,200 ac (1,808,256 ha) are the same as in the 1992 designation. Of 
the current proposed designation, 869,639 ac (351,938 ha) are lands 
that were not formerly designated, and 2,399,490 ac (971,060 ha) of 
lands that were included

[[Page 32462]]

in the former designation are not proposed here, for reasons detailed 
below.
    The new delineation of areas determined to be essential for the 
conservation of the northern spotted owl was based, in part, on an 
improved understanding of the limits of habitat usage by northern 
spotted owls combined with refinements in mapping technology. Using 
rangewide elevation isopleths (based on a linear regression 
representing the elevation of 99 percent of the known owl-pair activity 
centers and latitude) and geologic maps of serpentine soil distribution 
(forests on such soils do not attain the requisite tree size and canopy 
closure), Davis and Lint (2005, pp. 30-32) identified ``habitat-
capable'' areas on Federal lands within the range of the northern 
spotted owls. These are lands that currently provide nesting, roosting, 
and foraging habitat for northern spotted owls, or that have the 
biological capacity to do so under appropriate management, and that 
therefore have the ability to provide the PCEs for the northern spotted 
owls. The modeling of habitat-capable lands also took into account 
spotted owl presence location data, based on surveys and demographic 
monitoring (Davis and Lint 2005, p. 26). The improved modeling and 
mapping of lands that are habitat-capable with regard to northern 
spotted owls allowed for the refined definition of owl conservation 
areas, as presented in the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan, which in turn 
served as the basis for this critical habitat proposal.
    Option 1 of the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted 
Owl (USFWS 2007) identifies specific owl conservation areas based on a 
modification of the DCAs identified in the 1992 Final Draft Recovery 
Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl (USDI 1992), which were based on the 
habitat conservation areas (HCAs) first defined by the ISC (Thomas et 
al. 1990). The DCAs were chosen as the starting point for the 
delineation of the managed conservation areas (MOCAs) in the 2007 Draft 
Recovery Plan because they represent the best scientific delineation of 
areas needed specifically for the conservation of the northern spotted 
owl. Option 2 of the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan presents a habitat rule-
set for defining alternative conservation areas designed to provide a 
network of habitat blocks to support clusters of reproducing northern 
spotted owls and allow for dispersal between blocks and provinces, and 
is also based on the conservation strategy set forth by the ISC (Thomas 
et al. 1990).
    The strategy of the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan attempts to maximize 
the efficiency of the network of habitat blocks by making use of 
existing land use allocations that benefit the conservation of the 
northern spotted owl (for example, LSRs that are managed for late-
successional forest species or other Federal lands that are 
administratively withdrawn from regularly scheduled timber harvest). 
Because the land use management plans of the Forest Service and BLM are 
designed and implemented, in part, to provide for the conservation of 
the northern spotted owl on Federal lands (USDA and USDI 1994b), the 
2007 Draft Recovery Plan looks specifically to lands within the Federal 
management plan reserves for the habitat-capable acres needed to 
support the recovery objectives. This strategy accounts for many of the 
changes in the proposed critical habitat, since the location of 
conservation areas for northern spotted owls may have shifted to take 
advantage of various land use allocations, and some land use 
allocations, such as LSRs, did not come about until after the 
development of the DCAs and the original critical habitat designation 
for the northern spotted owl, under the Record of Decision for 
Amendments to Forest Service and BLM Planning Documents within the 
Range of the Northern Spotted Owl (USDA and USDI 1994b). (As noted 
earlier, LSRs were not designated solely to meet the needs of the 
northern spotted owl, but may include areas designated for other late-
successional forest species. Therefore not all LSRs are necessarily 
identified as conservation areas for northern spotted owls). The 
placement of conservation areas in the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan are 
also designed to take advantage of contiguous areas of designated 
Wilderness or National Park lands, which provide large areas of 
additional habitat under management consistent with the objectives of 
the recovery plan.
    Maps showing the difference between the 1992 designation and the 
2007 proposed revised designation of critical habitat are provided by 
physiographic province (Maps 1 through 11), and a table is provided 
that details the acreage differences by province (Table 1). A map of 
the Willamette Valley province is not included, since no critical 
habitat is currently designated within that province and revised 
critical habitat is similarly not proposed within that province. On all 
Forest Service lands and on BLM lands in California, the proposed 
revised critical habitat is consistent with the MOCAs identified under 
Option 1 in the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan (USFWS 2007, pp. 140-155). The 
almost 200 DCAs were examined and MOCAs were delineated using the 
following principles:
    (1) The original DCA was retained with no boundary change under one 
of the following conditions--(a) The original DCA boundary fell 
completely within a LRMP reserve and no revision of the DCA adjustment 
of the boundary was needed; or (b) The original DCA boundary did not 
fall completely within a LRMP reserve, but there was no need to change 
the boundary to move all or a portion of the DCA into the reserve.
    (2) The original DCA was retained with a boundary change under one 
of the following conditions--(a) The DCA boundary fell completely 
within a LRMP reserve and a boundary adjustment was made to match all 
or a portion of the original DCA boundary with the boundary of the 
reserve; (b) The DCA boundary fell completely within a LRMP reserve and 
a boundary adjustment was made to include better habitat conditions 
within the new MOCA boundary; (c) All or a portion of the DCA was 
outside a LRMP reserve and the DCA was moved to match the reserve as 
much as possible, resulting in fewer acres of non-reserve land in the 
DCA; (d) All or a portion of the DCA was outside a LRMP reserve and the 
DCA was moved to match the reserve as much as possible, resulting in no 
change to the acres of non-reserve land in the DCA; or (e) Non-Federal 
lands within the DCA boundary were removed or redesignated as a 
conservation support area (CSA). Conservation support areas are lands 
between or adjacent to MOCAs where habitat contributions by private, 
State, and Federal lands are expected to increase the likelihood of 
northern spotted owl recovery.
    (3) The original DCA was dropped under one of the following 
conditions--(a) The original DCA was not needed to satisfy the maximum 
spacing of 12 miles (closest edge to closest edge) between category 1 
DCAs and 7 miles between category 2 DCAs (Thomas et al. 1990); (b) The 
original DCA was not needed to provide for a cluster of reproducing 
owls; or (c) The DCA was redesignated as a CSA. In most cases, the 
redesignation of DCAs to CSAs was intended to acknowledge the 
demonstrated contributions to northern spotted owl recovery made by 
State or private management on intervening lands.
    In Oregon, the location of critical habitat units on BLM lands is 
based on the habitat rule-set presented under Option 2 of the Draft 
Recovery Plan (USFWS 2007, pp. 65-66). The rule set is intended to 
create a network of habitat blocks to support clusters of reproducing 
northern spotted owls, and

[[Page 32463]]

are tied directly to the recovery criteria identified in the 2007 Draft 
Recovery Plan. For the physiographic provinces in Oregon, the rule set 
provided for the following:
    (1) Large habitat blocks, designed to support 20 pairs of spotted 
owls, no farther apart than 12 miles from their nearest large-block 
neighbor at their nearest points.
    (2) Small habitat blocks, designed to support 1-19 pairs, no 
farther than 7 miles from their nearest neighbor at their nearest 
points. Smaller habitat blocks are closer to other habitat blocks to 
increase the likelihood that dispersing spotted owls find the smaller 
blocks.
    (3) A large habitat block was established whenever possible, when 
the geographic vicinity for adding a habitat block to the network was 
met using the spacing criteria above. If adding a large habitat block 
was not possible, a small habitat block was established with as large a 
carrying capacity as the available habitat-capable acres and spacing 
requirements allow.
    (4) Block-spacing as described above was the primary factor in 
determining the geographic vicinity for location of a given block in 
the network. Once in the vicinity of where a block was located, the 
specific locations of individual habitat blocks followed these 
prioritized rules:
    a. Include habitat-capable acres that occur within Congressionally 
Reserved Areas or Administratively Withdrawn Areas (e.g., designated 
Wilderness Areas, National Parks, Natural Areas), if present; and
    b. The habitat blocks are compact (i.e., have the smallest 
perimeter) and contiguous as the pattern of habitat-capable acres in 
the vicinity allows, given Rule 3(a); and
    c. Include as many as possible acres of currently suitable habitat 
in Federal lands and as many known locations of spotted owls as 
possible, given Rule 3(a).
    (5) At least 60% of the large and small habitat blocks are within 
the distance limits of at least three other habitat blocks, and at 
least one of the other three blocks is a large habitat block. This is 
to assure distribution of the habitat block network across the range of 
the spotted owl. The ability to create large habitat blocks in these 
excepted areas is restricted given the limited amount of available 
Federal lands.
    (6) Where there are two adjoining provinces, establish two habitat 
blocks, which meet the prescribed distance limits from each other, and 
at least one of the two habitat blocks is a large block. Strive for 
multiple connections between adjacent provinces. This is to provide for 
spotted owl movement between provinces, facilitating demographic 
interaction and genetic interchange among provinces.
    One example of a change resulting from the recommendations of the 
2007 Draft Recovery Plan is that we are not proposing any critical 
habitat within the Western Washington Lowlands physiographic province. 
The 2007 Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl no longer 
considers the management of forest habitat on Fort Lewis in Washington 
as a necessary component of northern spotted owl recovery, since no 
northern spotted owls are known to occur there. Thus the 60,506 ac 
(24,486 ha) of critical habitat designated on Fort Lewis in 1992 are 
not included in this revision. Since Fort Lewis is the only critical 
habitat currently designated within the Western Washington Lowlands, 
this change results in no critical habitat within that province under 
this proposal.
    In sum, although the overarching biological objectives of achieving 
the recovery of the northern spotted owl remain the same, the 2007 
Draft Recovery Plan proposes an alternative configuration of habitat 
blocks intended to be a more efficient strategy for attaining those 
objectives, which is reflected in the revised critical habitat 
designation proposed here. The number, size, and configuration of 
critical habitat units has thus changed, based on the recommendations 
of the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl with 
regard to the placement of conservation areas (USFWS 2007), in 
combination with the application of the rule set defining habitat block 
size and distance (Thomas et al. 1990) and the refined modeling of 
habitat-capable lands (Davis and Lint 2005). The reduction in number of 
critical habitat units is a reflection, in part, of our decision to 
aggregate multiple blocks into single units (Table 3). The current 
designation includes 190 critical habitat units; the proposed revision 
includes 29 critical habitat units. As an example of how blocks were 
consolidated, in the current proposal the Olympic Peninsula Unit (Unit 
1) includes 10 of the units under the current designation (Units 43 
through 52). As provided in the unit descriptions, each of the critical 
habitat units may include several large and small habitat blocks.
    Finally, in this proposed rule we provide a more detailed and 
specific characterization of the PCEs for the northern spotted owl. 
Although described in more detail in the preamble, the actual 
rulemaking section of the 1992 designation described the PCEs only as 
``forested areas that are used or potentially used by northern spotted 
owl for nesting, roosting, foraging, or dispersing'' (57 FR 1838; 
January 15, 1992). Research since the 1992 designation of critical 
habitat has largely confirmed our understanding of the PCEs as 
presented in the discussion section of that final rule (Courtney et al. 
2004), but this revision seeks to incorporate the specific description 
of those PCEs, as described earlier in the Primary Constituent Elements 
section of this document, into the Proposed Regulation Promulgation 
Section of the rule. For example, the proposed rule describing the PCEs 
now includes a list of the specific forest types used by northern 
spotted owls, as well as a description of the particular habitat 
components (tree size, canopy closure, nest platforms, etc.) used by 
northern spotted owls for nesting, roosting, foraging, and dispersal.

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BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
    Areas of overlap (1992 and 2007) and differences between the 
current (1992) designation of critical habitat for the northern spotted 
owl and the proposed revised designation (2007) by physiographic 
province and State. Those areas designated in 1992 that are not 
included in the proposed revision are labeled as ``1992 only,'' and 
those areas in the proposed revision that are not currently designated 
are labeled as ``2007 only.'' All acreages are approximate. Note that 
the acreage totals for the 1992 designation do not precisely match 
those originally published (57 FR 1809; January 15, 1992). This 
discrepancy is due to the

[[Page 32475]]

increased accuracy of data coverages and mapping capabilities since 
1992, some changes in acreage of congressionally reserved lands since 
1992, and the fact that the acreages reported in 1992 were rounded to 
the nearest 1,000 acres.

                                                    Table 1.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        Physiographic            Critical habitat
               State                       province                designation             Acres       Hectares
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Washington........................  Eastern Washington     1992 and 2007..............      468,624      189,650
                                     Cascades.             1992 only..................      210,992       85,387
                                                           2007 only..................      111,857       45,268
                                                           1992 total.................      679,616      275,037
                                                           2007 total.................      580,481      234,917
                                    Olympic Peninsula....  1992 and 2007..............      319,810      129,425
                                                           1992 only..................       65,007       26,308
                                                           2007 only..................       11,933        4,829
                                                           1992 total.................      384,817      155,733
                                                           2007 total.................      331,742      134,254
                                    Western Washington     1992 and 2007..............      796,984      322,535
                                     Cascades.             1992 only..................      260,875      105,575
                                                           2007 only..................      120,972       48,957
                                                           1992 total.................    1,057,859      428,110
                                                           2007 total.................      917,956      371,492
                                    Western Washington     1992 and 2007..............            0            0
                                     Lowlands.             1992 only..................       60,503       24,485
                                                           2007 only..................            0            0
                                                           1992 total.................       60,503       24,485
                                                           2007 total.................            0            0
                                    Washington Total.....  1992.......................    2,182,796      883,365
                                                           2007.......................    1,830,179      740,663
Oregon............................  Eastern Oregon         1992 and 2007..............      159,887       64,706
                                     Cascades.             1992 only..................      117,346       47,489
                                                           2007 only..................       66,288       26,826
                                                           1992 total.................      277,233      112,195
                                                           2007 total.................      226,176       91,532
                                    Western Oregon         1992 and 2007..............      733,006      296,644
                                     Cascades.             1992 only..................      864,942      350,037
                                                           2007 only..................      217,590       88,057
                                                           1992 total.................    1,597,949      646,681
                                                           2007 total.................      950,596      384,701
                                    Oregon Coast Ranges..  1992 and 2007..............      538,477      217,919
                                                           1992 only..................      248,126      100,415
                                                           2007 only..................       50,478       20,428
                                                           1992 total.................      786,604      318,334
                                                           2007 total.................      588,956      238,347
                                    Oregon Klamath.......  1992 and 2007..............      350,098      141,683
                                                           1992 only..................      278,295      112,624
                                                           2007 only..................       94,253       38,144
                                                           1992 total.................      628,392      254,307
                                                           2007 total.................      444,350      179,826
                                    Oregon Total.........  1992.......................    3,290,178    1,331,517
                                                           2007.......................    2,210,078      894,406
California........................  California Cascades..   1992 and 2007.............      190,986       77,291
                                                           1992 only..................       87,649       35,471
                                                           2007 only..................       44,484       18,003
                                                           1992 total.................      278,635      112,762
                                                           2007 total.................      235,470       95,293
                                    California Coast       1992 and 2007..............       95,883       38,803
                                     Ranges.               1992 only..................        4,026        1,629
                                                           2007 only..................       35,983       14,562
                                                           1992 total.................       99,909       40,433
                                                           2007 total.................      131,866       53,365
                                    California Klamath...  1992 and 2007..............      814,444      329,601
                                                           1992 only..................      201,727       81,638
                                                           2007 only..................      115,802       46,864
                                                           1992 total.................    1,016,172      411,239
                                                           2007 total.................      930,246      376,465
                                    California Total.....   1992......................    1,394,716      564,434
                                                           2007.......................    1,297,582      525,124
                                   -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 32476]]

 
    Total.........................  .....................  1992 and 2007..............    4,468,200    1,808,256
                                                           1992 only..................    2,399,490      971,060
                                                           2007 only..................      869,639      351,938
                                                           1992 total.................    6,867,690    2,779,316
                                                           2007 total.................    5,337,839    2,160,194
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proposed Revised Critical Habitat Designation

    The proposed revised critical habitat areas described below 
constitute our best assessment currently of areas within the geographic 
area occupied by the species that contain the primary constituent 
elements and may require special management. Table 2 below provides the 
approximate area (ac/ha) determined to meet the definition of critical 
habitat for the northern spotted owl by State.

  Table 2.--Areas Determined to Meet the Definition of Critical Habitat
                      for the Northern Spotted Owl
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    Proposed revised
                                                    critical habitat
                     State                     -------------------------
                                                   Acres       Hectares
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Washington....................................    1,830,179      740,650
Oregon........................................    2,210,078      894,390
California....................................    1,297,582      525,115
                                               -------------------------
    Total.....................................    5,337,839    2,160,155
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The approximate area encompassed within each revised critical 
habitat unit is shown in Table 3.

   Table 3.--Revised Critical Habitat Units Proposed for the Northern
                               Spotted Owl
------------------------------------------------------------------------
 Critical habitat unit by state     Forest service            BLM
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Washington:
    Unit 1--Olympic Peninsula...  331,742 ac          0.
                                   (134,251 ha).
    Unit 2--Northwest Washington  410,872 ac          0.
     Cascades.                     (166,274 ha).
    Unit 3--Okanogan............  115,638 ac (46,797  0.
                                   ha).
    Unit 4--Entiat..............  304,817 ac          0.
                                   (123,355 ha).
    Unit 5--Southwest Washington  523,710 ac          0.
     Cascades.                     (211,938 ha).
    Unit 6--Southeast Washington  143,400 ac (58,031  0.
     Cascades.                     ha).
Oregon:
    Unit 7--Northern Oregon       187,562 ac (75,904  133,858 ac (54,170
     Coast Ranges.                 ha).                ha).
    Unit 8--Southern Oregon       67,751 ac (27,418   136,525 ac (55,250
     Coast Ranges.                 ha).                ha).
    Unit 9--Western Oregon        334,738 ac          0.
     Cascades North.               (135,464 ha).
    Unit 10--Hood River.........  42,683 ac (17,273   0.
                                   ha).
    Unit 11--Eastern Oregon       106,665 ac (43,166  0.
     Cascades.                     ha).
    Unit 12--Western Oregon       448,324 ac          79 ac (32 ha).
     Cascades South.               (181,430 ha).
    Unit 13--Willamette/North     0.................  119,638 ac (48,416
     Umpqua.                                           ha).
    Unit 14--Rogue-Umpqua.......  13,147 ac (5,320    152,357 ac (61,657
                                   ha).                ha).
Oregon and California:
    Unit 15--Oregon Klamath       194,745 ac (78,810  466 ac (188 ha).
     Mountains.                    ha).
    Unit 16--Klamath Intra-       57,977 ac (23,462   38,595 ac (15,619
     Province.                     ha).                ha).
    Unit 17--Southern Cascades..  191,612 ac (77,543  34,818 ac (14,090
                                   ha).                ha).
    Unit 25--Scott and Salmon     242,450 ac (98,116  0.
     Mountains.                    ha).
California:
    Unit 18--Coastal Redwoods...  6,937 ac (2,807     0.
                                   ha).
    Unit 19--Coastal Humboldt...  0.................  49,308 ac (19,954
                                                       ha).
    Unit 20--King Range.........  0.................  40,308 ac (16,312
                                                       ha).
    Unit 21--South Fork Mountain  141,054 ac (57,082  4,126 ac (1,670
     Divide.                       ha).                ha).
    Unit 22--Eel-Russian River..  0.................  21,940 ac (8,879
                                                       ha).
    Unit 23--Mendocino Coast      215,105 ac (87,050  0.
     Ranges.                       ha).
    Unit 24--Western Klamath/     236,460 ac (95,692  3,670 ac (1,485
     Siskiyou Mountains.           ha).                ha).
    Unit 26--Trinity Divide.....  13,870 ac (5,613    0.
                                   ha).
    Unit 27--Shasta-Trinity       85,730 ac (34,694   1,090 ac (441 ha).
     Lakes.                        ha).
    Unit 28--Eastern Klamath      110,756 ac (44,821  0.
     Mountains.                    ha).
    Unit 29--Shasta/McCloud.....  73,316 ac (29,670   0.
                                   ha).
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    We present brief descriptions of the proposed revised critical 
habitat units below. All units are within the geographic area occupied 
(see Criteria Used to Identify Critical Habitat for methods) and all 
contain one or more of the features essential to the conservation of 
the northern spotted owl, as described in the PCEs. As provided under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act, these units will be considered for 
exclusion from critical habitat when this rule is finalized. Exclusions 
are considered based on the relative costs and benefits of designating 
critical habitat, including

[[Page 32477]]

information contained in the forthcoming economic analysis.

Unit 1. Olympic Peninsula

    The Olympic Peninsula Unit consists of 331,742 ac (134,251 ha) in 
Clallam, Jefferson, Mason, and Grays Harbor Counties, Washington, and 
is comprised of lands managed by the Olympic National Forest. This unit 
includes one area that, with the associated Wilderness and Olympic 
National Park, meets the size requirement of a large habitat block, and 
two areas that, with the associated Wilderness and Olympic National 
Park, meet the size requirement of small habitat blocks.

Unit 2. Northwest Washington Cascades

    The Northwest Washington Cascades Unit consists of 410,872 ac 
(166,274 ha) in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, and Kittitas 
Counties, Washington, and is comprised of lands managed by the Mt. 
Baker-Snoqualmie and Wenatchee National Forests. This unit includes 2 
areas that, with associated Wilderness and the North Cascades National 
Park, meet the size requirement of large habitat blocks, and 13 areas 
that, with associated Wilderness and the North Cascades National Park, 
meet the size requirement of small habitat blocks.

Unit 3. Okanogan

    The Okanogan Unit consists of 115,638 ac (46,797 ha) in Whatcom, 
Okanogan, and Chelan Counties, Washington, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests. This unit 
includes seven areas that, with associated Wilderness and the North 
Cascades National Park, meet the size requirement of small habitat 
blocks.

Unit 4. Entiat

    The Entiat Unit consists of 304,817 ac (123,355 ha) in Chelan and 
Kittitas Counties, Washington, and is comprised of lands managed by the 
Wenatchee and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests. This unit includes 
three areas that, with associated Wilderness, meet the size requirement 
of large habitat blocks and four areas that, with associated 
Wilderness, meet the size requirement of small habitat blocks.

Unit 5. Southwest Washington Cascades

    The Southwest Washington Cascades Unit consists of 523,710 ac 
(211,938 ha) in King, Pierce, Thurston, Lewis, Skamania, Cowlitz, 
Kittitas, and Yakima Counties, Washington, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie, Gifford Pinchot, and Wenatchee 
National Forests. This unit includes four areas that, with associated 
Wilderness and Mount Rainier National Park, meet the size requirement 
of large habitat blocks and two areas that, with associated Wilderness 
and the Mount Rainier National Park, meet the size requirement of small 
habitat blocks.

Unit 6. Southeast Washington Cascades

    The Southeast Washington Cascades Unit consists of 143,400 ac 
(58,031 ha) in Kittitas, Yakima, and Skamania Counties, Washington, and 
is comprised of lands managed by the Wenatchee and Gifford Pinchot 
National Forests. This unit includes six areas that, with associated 
Wilderness, meet the size requirement of small habitat blocks.

Unit 7. Northern Oregon Coast Ranges

    The Northern Oregon Coast Ranges Unit consists of 321,420 ac 
(130,074 ha) in Tillamook, Yamhill, Polk, Lincoln, Benton, and Lane 
Counties, Oregon, and is comprised of lands managed by the Siuslaw 
National Forest (187,562 ac (75,904 ha)) and Salem and Eugene BLM 
Districts (133,858 ac (54,170 ha)). This unit includes one area that, 
with associated Wilderness, meets the size requirement of a large 
habitat block and seven areas that, with associated Wilderness, meet 
the size requirement of small habitat blocks.

Unit 8. Southern Oregon Coast Ranges

    The Southern Oregon Coast Ranges Unit consists of 204,276 ac 
(82,668 ha) in Lane, Coos, and Douglas Counties, Oregon, and is 
comprised of lands managed by the Siuslaw National Forest (67,751 ac 
(27,418 ha)) and Eugene, Roseburg and Coos Bay BLM Districts (136,525 
ac (55,250 ha)). This unit includes one area that meets the size 
requirement of a large habitat block and three areas that, with 
associated Wilderness, meet the size requirement of small habitat 
blocks.

Unit 9. Western Oregon Cascades North

    The Western Oregon Cascades North Unit consists of 334,738 ac 
(135,464 ha) in Linn, Marion, Clackamas, Hood River, and Multnomah 
Counties, Oregon, and is comprised of lands managed by the Mt. Hood and 
Willamette National Forests. This unit includes five areas that, with 
associated Wilderness, meet the size requirement of large habitat 
blocks and one area that meets the size requirement of a small habitat 
block.

Unit 10. Hood River

    The Hood River Unit is comprised of 42,863 ac (17,273 ha) in Hood 
River and Wasco Counties, Oregon, and is comprised of lands managed by 
the Mt. Hood National Forest. This unit includes one area that, with 
its associated Wilderness, meets the size requirement of a large 
habitat block.

Unit 11. Eastern Oregon Cascades

    The Eastern Oregon Cascades Unit is comprised of 106,665 ac (43,166 
ha) in Jefferson, Deschutes, and Klamath Counties, Oregon, and is 
comprised of lands managed by the Deschutes National Forest. This unit 
includes seven areas that, with associated Wilderness and Crater Lake 
National Park, meet the size requirement of small habitat blocks.

Unit 12. Western Oregon Cascades South

    The Western Oregon Cascades South Unit consists of 448,403 ac 
(181,463 ha) in Jackson, Douglas, Lane, and Linn Counties, Oregon, and 
is comprised of lands managed by the Willamette, Umpqua, and Rogue 
River National Forests (448,324 ac (181,406 ha)) and Eugene BLM 
Districts (79 ac (32 ha)). This unit includes eight areas that, with 
associated Wilderness, meet the size requirement of large habitat 
blocks.

Unit 13. Willamette/North Umpqua

    The Willamette/North Umpqua Unit is comprised of 119,637 ac (48,415 
ha) of lands in Lane and Douglas Counties, Oregon, and is comprised of 
lands managed by the Eugene and Roseburg BLM Districts. This unit 
includes three areas that meet the size requirement of small habitat 
blocks. These areas provide for habitat connectivity and northern 
spotted owl movement via the inter-provincial connection from the 
western Cascades to the Oregon Coast Ranges.

Unit 14. Rogue/Umpqua

    The Rogue/Umpqua Unit consists of 165,504 ac (66,977 ha) in Douglas 
and Josephine Counties, Oregon, and is comprised of lands managed by 
the Umpqua National Forest (13,147 ac (5,320 ha)) and Roseburg and BLM 
Medford Districts (152,357 ac (61,657 ha)). This unit includes one area 
that meets the size requirement of a large habitat block, and one area 
that meets the size requirement of a small habitat block. These areas 
provide for habitat connectivity and northern spotted owl movement via 
the inter-provincial connection from the western Cascades to the Oregon 
Coast Ranges across the Rogue-Umpqua divide.

Unit 15. Oregon Klamath Mountains

    The Oregon Klamath Mountains Unit is a total of 195,211 ac (79,215 
ha), including 189,424 ac (76,657 ha) in Coos, Curry, and Josephine 
Counties,

[[Page 32478]]

Oregon, and 5,787 ac (2,342 ha) in the northernmost portion of Del 
Norte County, California. It is comprised of lands managed by the 
Siskiyou and Six Rivers National Forests (194,745 ac (78,810 ha)) and 
Coos Bay BLM District (466 ac (188 ha)). This unit includes three areas 
that, with associated Wilderness, meet the size requirement of large 
habitat blocks, and one area that, with its associated Wilderness, 
meets the size requirement of a small habitat block. The northern 
spotted owl population in the Klamath Province is the major population 
link between the Oregon Coast Ranges and western Oregon Cascades 
Provinces. It also provides the primary connection between northern 
spotted owl populations in Oregon and California.

Unit 16. Klamath Intra-Province

    The Klamath Intra-Province Unit is a total of 96,572 ac (39,081 
ha), including 90,437 ac (36,598 ha) in Josephine and Jackson Counties, 
Oregon, and 6,135 ac (2,483 ha) in the northern portion of Siskiyou 
County, California. It is comprised of lands managed by the Rogue-
Siskiyou and Klamath National Forests (57,977 ac (23,462 ha)) and 
Medford BLM District (38,595 ac (15,619 ha)). This unit includes one 
area that meets the size requirement of a large habitat block and one 
area that meets the size requirement of a small habitat block. These 
areas provide essential habitat connections through an area of limited 
habitat in the Klamath Province.

Unit 17. Southern Cascades

    The Southern Cascades Unit is a total of 226,430 ac (91,634 ha), 
including 186,732 ac ( 75,568 ha) in Jackson and Klamath Counties, 
Oregon, and 39,698 ac (16,065 ha) in the northern portion of Siskiyou 
County, California. It is comprised of lands managed by Rogue-Siskiyou, 
Winema, and Klamath National Forests (191,612 ac (77,543 ha)) and 
Medford and Lakeview BLM Districts (34,818 ac (14,090 ha)). This unit 
includes two areas that, with associated Wilderness, meet the size 
requirement of large habitat blocks and three areas that, with 
associated Wilderness, meet the size requirement of small habitat 
blocks.

Unit 18. Coastal Redwoods

    The Coastal Redwoods Unit consists of 6,937 ac (2,807 ha) in Del 
Norte County, California, and is comprised of lands managed by Six 
Rivers National Forest. This unit includes one area that, with 
associated portions of Redwood National Park, meets the size 
requirement of a small habitat block.

Unit 19. Coastal Humboldt

    The Coastal Humboldt Unit consists of 49,308 ac (19,954 ha) in 
Humboldt and Mendocino Counties, California, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the BLM Arcata Field Office. This unit includes four areas 
that, with associated Congressionally-Reserved Areas, meet the size 
requirement of small habitat blocks.

Unit 20. King Range

    The King Range Unit consists of 40,308 ac (16,312 ha) in Humboldt 
and Mendocino Counties, California, and is comprised of lands managed 
by the BLM Arcata Field Office. This unit includes one area that meets 
the size requirement of a small habitat block.

Unit 21. South Fork Mountain Divide

    The South Fork Mountain Divide Unit consists of 141,180 ac (58,752 
ha) in Humboldt and Trinity Counties, California, and is comprised of 
lands managed by the Six Rivers and Shasta-Trinity National Forests 
(141,054 ac (57,082 ha)) and BLM Arcata Field Office (4,126 ac (1,670 
ha)). This unit includes three areas that meet the size requirement of 
large habitat blocks, and one area that meets the size requirement of a 
small habitat block.

Unit 22. Eel-Russian River

    The Eel-Russian River Unit consists of 21,940 ac (8,879 ha) in 
Mendocino and Trinity Counties, California, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the BLM Ukiah and Arcata Field Offices. This unit includes 
16 areas that meet the size requirement of small habitat blocks for 
northern spotted owls.

Unit 23. Mendocino Coast Ranges

    The Mendocino Coast Ranges Unit consists of 215,105 ac (87,050 ha) 
in Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, Glenn, Tehama, and Trinity Counties, 
California, and is comprised of lands managed by the Mendocino National 
Forest. This unit includes two areas that, with associated Wilderness, 
meet the size requirement of large habitat blocks and five areas that 
meet the size requirement of small habitat blocks.

Unit 24. Western Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains

    The Western Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains Unit consists of 240,130 ac 
(87,178 ha) in Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity, Shasta, and Siskiyou 
Counties, California, and is comprised of lands managed by the Six 
Rivers and Shasta-Trinity National Forests (236,460 ac (95,692 ha)) and 
BLM Redding Field Office (3,670 ac (1,485 ha)). This unit includes five 
areas that, with associated Wilderness, meet the size requirement of 
large habitat blocks, and one area that meets the size requirement of a 
small habitat block.

Unit 25. Scott and Salmon Mountains

    The Scott and Salmon Mountains Unit is a total of 242,450 ac 
(98,116 ha), including 242,292 ac (98,052 ha) in Siskiyou County, 
California, and 158 ac (64 ha) in Josephine County, Oregon, and is 
comprised of lands managed by the Klamath National Forest. This unit 
includes four areas that, with associated Wilderness, meet the size 
requirement of large habitat blocks and two areas that, with associated 
Wilderness, meet the size requirement of small habitat blocks.

Unit 26. Trinity Divide

    The Trinity Divide Unit consists of 13,870 ac (5,613 ha) in 
Siskiyou County, California, and is comprised of lands managed by the 
Klamath National Forest. This unit includes four areas that, with 
associated Wilderness, meet the size requirement of small habitat 
blocks with one to two pairs of northern spotted owls each, forming a 
``stepping-stone'' string of small areas providing connectivity to the 
eastern Klamath Mountains.

Unit 27. Shasta-Trinity Lakes

    The Shasta/Trinity Lakes Unit consists of 86,819 ac (35,134 ha) in 
Shasta and Trinity Counties, California, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the Shasta-Trinity National Forest (85,730 ac (34,694 ha)) 
and BLM Redding Field Office (1,090 ac (441 ha)). This unit includes 
six areas that, with associated Wilderness, meet the size requirement 
of small habitat blocks.

Unit 28. Eastern Klamath Mountains

    The Eastern Klamath Mountains Unit consists of 110,756 ac (44,821 
ha) in Shasta and Siskiyou Counties, California, and is comprised of 
lands managed by the Shasta-Trinity and Klamath National Forests. This 
unit includes five areas that meet the size requirement of small 
habitat blocks.

Unit 29. Shasta/McCloud

    The Shasta/McCloud Unit consists of 73,316 ac (29,670 ha) in 
Siskiyou and Shasta Counties, California, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the Klamath and Shasta-Trinity National Forests. This unit 
includes 13 areas that meet the size requirement of small habitat 
blocks.

[[Page 32479]]

Effects of Critical Habitat Designation

Section 7 Consultation

    Section 7 of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to ensure that actions they fund, authorize, or carry out are 
not likely to destroy or adversely modify critical habitat. In our 
regulations at 50 CFR 402.02, we define destruction or adverse 
modification as ``a direct or indirect alteration that appreciably 
diminishes the value of critical habitat for both the survival and 
recovery of a listed species. Such alterations include, but are not 
limited to, alterations adversely modifying any of those physical or 
biological features that were the basis for determining the habitat to 
be critical.'' However, recent decisions by the 5th and 9th Circuit 
Courts of Appeals have invalidated this definition (see Gifford Pinchot 
Task Force v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 378 F. 3d 1059 (9th Cir 
2004) and Sierra Club v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service et al., 245 
F.3d 434, 442F (5th Cir 2001)). Pursuant to current national policy and 
the statutory provisions of the Act, destruction or adverse 
modification is determined on the basis of whether, with implementation 
of the proposed Federal action, the affected critical habitat would 
remain functional (or retain the current ability for the primary 
constituent elements to be functionally re-established in situations 
where the critical habitat was temporarily destroyed or degraded) to 
serve the intended conservation role for the species.
    Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies, including the 
Service, to evaluate their actions with respect to any species that is 
proposed or listed as endangered or threatened and with respect to its 
critical habitat, if any is proposed or designated. Regulations 
implementing this interagency cooperation provision of the Act are 
codified at 50 CFR part 402.
    Section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to confer with 
us on any action that is likely to jeopardize the continued existence 
of a species proposed to be listed or result in destruction or adverse 
modification of proposed critical habitat. This is a procedural 
requirement only. However, once a species becomes listed, or proposed 
critical habitat is designated as final, the full prohibitions of 
section 7(a)(2) apply to any Federal action. The primary utility of the 
conference procedures is to maximize the opportunity for a Federal 
agency to adequately consider species proposed for listing and proposed 
critical habitat and avoid potential delays in implementing their 
proposed action as a result of the section 7(a)(2) compliance process, 
if those species are listed or the critical habitat designated.
    Under conference procedures, the Service may provide advisory 
conservation recommendations to assist the agency in eliminating 
conflicts that may be caused by the proposed action. The Service may 
conduct either informal or formal conferences. Informal conferences are 
typically used if the proposed action is not likely to have any adverse 
effects to the species proposed to be listed or proposed critical 
habitat. Formal conferences are typically used when the Federal agency 
or the Service believes the proposed action is likely to cause adverse 
effects to species proposed to be listed or critical habitat, inclusive 
of those that may cause jeopardy or adverse modification.
    The results of an informal conference are typically transmitted in 
a conference report, while the results of a formal conference are 
typically transmitted in a conference opinion. Conference opinions on 
proposed critical habitat are typically prepared according to 50 CFR 
402.14 as if the proposed critical habitat were designated. We may 
adopt the conference opinion as the biological opinion when the 
critical habitat is designated if no substantial new information or 
changes in the action alter the content of the opinion (see 50 CFR 
402.10(d)). As noted above, any conservation recommendations in a 
conference report or opinion are strictly advisory.
    If a species is listed or critical habitat is designated, section 
7(a)(2) of the Act requires Federal agencies to ensure that activities 
they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of such a species or to destroy or adversely modify 
its critical habitat. If a Federal action may affect a listed species 
or its critical habitat, the responsible Federal agency (action agency) 
must enter into consultation with us. If, after informal consultation, 
the action agency determines that the action is not likely to adversely 
affect the species or critical habitat, it may request concurrence from 
the Service and complete the section 7(a)(2) process without formal 
consultation. If the action is likely to adversely affect the species 
or critical habitat, the agency shall request formal consultation and 
the Service will issue a biological opinion.
    When we issue a biological opinion concluding that a project is 
likely to result in jeopardy to a listed species or the destruction or 
adverse modification of critical habitat, we also provide reasonable 
and prudent alternatives to the project, if any are identifiable, to 
avoid that outcome. ``Reasonable and prudent alternatives'' are defined 
at 50 CFR 402.02 as alternative actions identified during consultation 
that can be implemented in a manner consistent with the intended 
purpose of the action, that are consistent with the scope of the 
Federal agency's legal authority and jurisdiction, that are 
economically and technologically feasible, and that the Director 
believes would avoid jeopardy to the listed species or destruction or 
adverse modification of critical habitat. Reasonable and prudent 
alternatives can vary from slight project modifications to extensive 
redesign or relocation of the project. Costs associated with 
implementing a reasonable and prudent alternative are similarly 
variable.
    Regulations at 50 CFR 402.16 require Federal agencies to reinitiate 
consultation on previously reviewed actions in instances when a new 
species is listed or critical habitat is subsequently designated that 
may be affected and the Federal agency has retained discretionary 
involvement or control over the action or such discretionary 
involvement or control is authorized by law. Consequently, some Federal 
agencies may request reinitiation of consultation or initiation of 
conference with us on actions for which formal consultation has been 
completed, if those actions may affect subsequently listed species or 
designated critical habitat or adversely modify or destroy proposed 
critical habitat.
    Federal activities that may affect the northern spotted owl or its 
designated critical habitat require section 7 consultation under the 
Act. Activities on State, Tribal, local or private lands requiring a 
Federal permit (such as a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
under section 404 of the Clean Water Act or a permit under section 
10(a)(1)(B) of the Act from the Service) or involving some other 
Federal action (such as funding from the Federal Highway 
Administration, Federal Aviation Administration, or the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency) are also be subject to the section 7 
consultation process. Federal actions not affecting listed species or 
critical habitat, and actions on State, Tribal, local, or private lands 
that are not federally funded, authorized, or permitted, do not require 
section 7 consultation. In addition, currently designated northern 
spotted owl critical habitat (see 50 CFR 17.95(b)) remain in place, and 
therefore be subject to section 7, until our final determination on 
this proposal is made.

[[Page 32480]]

Application of the Jeopardy and Adverse Modification Standards for 
Actions Involving Effects to the Northern Spotted Owl and Its Critical 
Habitat

Jeopardy Standard

    The Service has applied an analytical framework for northern 
spotted owl jeopardy analyses that relies heavily on a northern spotted 
owl conservation strategy developed in the Standards and Guidelines of 
the Record of Decision for Amendments to Forest Service and BLM 
Planning Documents within the Range of the Northern Spotted Owl (USDA 
and USDI 1994b) and adopted by the Forest Service and BLM in their land 
management plans (LRMPs/RMPs); this habitat-based strategy also applies 
to National Park Service lands. The section 7(a)(2) analysis focuses on 
how the proposed Federal action comports with the habitat-based, 
rangewide conservation plan for the northern spotted owl.

Adverse Modification Standard

    The analytical framework described in the Director's December 9, 
2004, memorandum is used to complete section 7(a)(2) analyses for 
Federal actions affecting northern spotted owl critical habitat. The 
key factor related to the adverse modification determination is 
whether, with implementation of the proposed Federal action, the 
affected critical habitat would remain functional (or retain the 
current ability for the primary constituent elements to be functionally 
re-established in situations where the critical habitat was temporarily 
destroyed or degraded) to serve its intended conservation role for the 
species. Generally, the conservation role of northern spotted owl 
critical habitat units is to support viable populations at the 
physiographic province level. The parameters for the habitat that is 
understood to fulfill this role are set forth in the recovery criteria 
in the 2007 Draft Recovery Plan for the Northern Spotted Owl (USFWS 
2007).
    Section 4(b)(8) of the Act requires us to briefly evaluate and 
describe in any proposed or final regulation that designates critical 
habitat those activities involving a Federal action that may destroy or 
adversely modify such habitat, or that may be affected by such 
designation. Activities that may destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat may also jeopardize the continued existence of the species.
    Activities that may destroy or adversely modify critical habitat 
are those that alter the PCEs to an extent that the intended 
conservation function of critical habitat for the northern spotted owl 
is appreciably reduced. Activities that, when carried out, funded, or 
authorized by a Federal agency, may affect critical habitat and 
therefore should result in informal or formal consultation for the 
northern spotted owl include, but are not limited to:
    (1) Actions that would remove or modify potential nest structures, 
such as large (generally greater than 30 in (76 cm) dbh) broken-topped 
trees, snags, platforms, or mistletoe infestations. Such activities 
could remove nesting opportunities, potentially preventing or 
suppressing reproduction. Activities that could remove or modify these 
features are listed below.
    (2) Actions that would remove or modify forest conditions 
supporting nesting, foraging, and roosting, such as large trees, canopy 
closure, multi-layered and multi-species canopies, the presence of 
flight room under the canopy, and in some areas, the presence of 
hardwoods in stands. Such activities could increase the risk of 
predation of adults or young, increase thermal stress, decrease 
foraging success, or decrease survival resulting from extreme weather. 
Activities that could remove or modify these features are listed below.
    (3) Actions that would fragment northern spotted owl nesting, 
roosting, foraging, or dispersal habitat within critical habitat 
blocks, so that connectivity within or between blocks, units, or 
provinces is reduced or eliminated. Concentrated removal or 
modification of forested areas within individual blocks could increase 
the distance northern spotted owls must travel to reach suitable forest 
conditions in another critical habitat block, which can result in an 
increased risk of predation, increased stress, and reduction in 
foraging opportunities. Activities that could remove or modify these 
features are listed below.
    (4) Actions that would eliminate the potential for an area to 
support the forest types that develop into nesting, roosting, foraging 
and dispersal habitat. Ground disturbances that disrupt the ability for 
the landscape to grow forested communities to their full potential 
could decrease nesting and foraging opportunities, while increasing the 
distance between blocks of intact habitat, which could result in an 
increased risk of predation and increased stress. Activities that could 
remove the potential for these forest types to exist are listed below.
    The types of activities that may affect northern spotted owl 
critical habitat as described above include, but are not limited to: 
Timber harvest; salvage of dead trees from healthy forest stands and 
post-wildfire burn areas; snag creation or removal; hazard tree 
removal; fuels reduction treatments; wildland fire management and fire 
suppression activities, such as back-burning and felling trees; 
personal use and commercial firewood collection; land disturbance 
activities associated with construction and maintenance of power 
transmission line corridors, highways, hydroelectric facilities, mines, 
or oil, gas, geothermal or telecommunications leases; sand, gravel, or 
rock extraction; and construction of ski areas and associated resort 
facilities or other large-scale recreational developments.
    Some silvicultural activities designed to improve the habitat for 
northern spotted owls over the long term may have short-term negative 
impacts.
    We consider all of the units proposed as revised critical habitat 
to contain features essential to the conservation of the northern 
spotted owl. All units are within the geographic range of the species 
and are likely to be used by the northern spotted owl. Federal agencies 
already consult with us on activities in areas currently occupied by 
the northern spotted owl to ensure that their actions do not jeopardize 
the continued existence of the northern spotted owl.

Application of Section 3(5)(A) and Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of 
the Act

    Section 3(5)(A) of the Act defines critical habitat as the specific 
areas within the geographic area occupied by the species on which are 
found physical and biological features (i) essential to the 
conservation of the species, and (ii) which may require special 
management considerations or protection. Therefore, areas within the 
geographic area occupied by the species that do not contain the 
features essential to the conservation of the species are not, by 
definition, critical habitat. Similarly, areas within the geographic 
area occupied by the species that require no special management or 
protection also are not, by definition, critical habitat. Many areas 
that did not meet the definition previously and were not included in 
critical habitat are also not included in this designation for the same 
reason.
    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act states that critical habitat shall be 
designated, and revised, on the basis of the best available scientific 
data after taking into consideration the economic impact, national 
security impact, and any other relevant impact of specifying any 
particular area as critical habitat. The Secretary may exclude an area 
from critical habitat if he determines that the

[[Page 32481]]

benefits of such exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying such 
area as part of the critical habitat, unless he determines, based on 
the best scientific data available, that the failure to designate such 
area as critical habitat will result in the extinction of the species.
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, in considering whether to exclude 
a particular area from the designation, we must identify the benefits 
of including the area in the designation, identify the benefits of 
excluding the area from the designation, and determine whether the 
benefits of exclusion outweigh the benefits of inclusion. If an 
exclusion is contemplated, we must determine whether excluding the area 
would result in the extinction of the species. In addition, the Service 
is conducting an economic analysis of the impacts of the proposed 
revised critical habitat designation and related factors, which will be 
available for public review and comment. We are not proposing any 
specific exclusions under 4(b)(2) at this time; however, based on 
public comment on the document, the proposed revised designation 
itself, and the information in the final economic analysis, areas may 
be excluded in the final rule. This is provided for in section 4(b)(2) 
of the Act, and in our implementing regulations at 50 CFR 424.19.

General Principles of Section 7 Consultations Used in the 4(b)(2) 
Balancing Process

    The most direct, and potentially largest, regulatory benefit of 
critical habitat is that federally authorized, funded, or carried out 
activities require consultation under section 7 of the Act to ensure 
that they are not likely to destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat. There are two limitations to this regulatory effect. First, it 
only applies where there is a Federal nexus--if there is no Federal 
nexus, designation itself does not restrict actions that destroy or 
adversely modify critical habitat. Second, it only limits destruction 
or adverse modification. By its nature, the prohibition on adverse 
modification is designed to ensure that areas containing the physical 
and biological features essential to the conservation of the species, 
or unoccupied areas essential to the conservation of the species, are 
not eroded. Critical habitat designation alone, however, does not 
require specific steps toward recovery.
    Once consultation under section 7 of the Act is triggered, the 
process may conclude informally if the action agency determines that 
the proposed Federal action is not likely to adversely affect the 
listed species or its critical habitat. However, if the action agency 
determines through informal consultation that adverse impacts are 
likely to occur, then formal consultation would be initiated. Formal 
consultation concludes with a biological opinion issued by the Service 
on whether the proposed Federal action is likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of a listed species or result in destruction or 
adverse modification of critical habitat, with separate analyses being 
made under both the jeopardy and the adverse modification standards. 
For critical habitat, a biological opinion that concludes in a 
determination of no destruction or adverse modification may contain 
discretionary conservation recommendations to minimize adverse effects 
to primary constituent elements, but it would not contain any mandatory 
reasonable and prudent measures or terms and conditions. Mandatory 
measures, and terms and conditions to implement them, are only 
specified when the proposed action would result in the incidental take 
of a listed animal species. Reasonable and prudent alternatives to the 
proposed Federal action would only be suggested when the biological 
opinion results in a jeopardy or adverse modification conclusion.
    A benefit of including lands in critical habitat is that the 
designation of critical habitat serves to educate landowners, State and 
local governments, and the public regarding the potential conservation 
value of an area. This helps focus and promote conservation efforts by 
other parties by clearly delineating areas of high conservation value 
for the northern spotted owl. In general the educational benefit of a 
critical habitat designation always exists, although in some cases it 
may be redundant with other educational effects.
    The Service is conducting an economic analysis of the impacts of 
the proposed revised critical habitat designation and related factors, 
which will be available for public review and comment. Based on public 
comment on that document, the proposed revised designation itself, and 
the information in the final economic analysis, additional areas beyond 
those identified in this assessment may be excluded from critical 
habitat by the Secretary under the provisions of section 4(b)(2) of the 
Act. This is provided for in the Act, and in our implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR 424.19.

Exclusions Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    We are not proposing to exclude any specific areas under section 
4(b)(2) of the Act in this proposed revision to northern spotted owl 
critical habitat at this time. However, we will consider excluding any, 
or all, areas in the final designation after taking into account public 
comments and the economic analysis.

Economic Analysis

    An analysis of the economic impacts of proposing revised critical 
habitat for the northern spotted owl is being prepared. We will 
announce the availability of the draft economic analysis as soon as it 
is completed, at which time we will seek public review and comment. At 
that time, copies of the draft economic analysis will be available for 
downloading from the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo, or by 
contacting the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office directly (see ADDRESSES 
section).

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy published in the Federal 
Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), and based on our implementation 
of the Office of Management and Budget's Final Information Quality 
Bulletin for Peer Review, dated December 16, 2004, we will seek the 
expert opinions of at least five appropriate and independent peer 
reviewers regarding the science in this proposed rule. The purpose of 
such review is to ensure that our revised critical habitat designation 
is based on scientifically sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We 
will send copies of this proposed rule to these peer reviewers 
immediately following publication in the Federal Register. We will 
invite these peer reviewers to comment during the public comment period 
on the specific assumptions and conclusions regarding the proposed 
revised designation of critical habitat.
    We will consider all comments and information received during the 
comment period on this proposed rule during preparation of a final 
rulemaking. Accordingly, the final decision may differ from this 
proposal.

Public Hearings

    The Act provides for one or more public hearings on this proposal, 
if requested. Requests for public hearings must be made in writing at 
least 15 days prior to the close of the public comment period (see 
DATES). We will schedule public hearings on this proposal, if any are 
requested, and announce the dates, times, and places of those hearings 
in

[[Page 32482]]

the Federal Register and local newspapers at least 15 days prior to the 
first hearing.

Clarity of the Rule

    Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) requires 
each agency to write regulations and notices that are easy to 
understand. We invite your comments on how to make this proposed rule 
easier to understand, including answers to questions such as the 
following: (1) Are the requirements in the proposed rule clearly 
stated? (2) Does the proposed rule contain technical jargon that 
interferes with the clarity? (3) Does the format of the proposed rule 
(grouping and order of the sections, use of headings, paragraphing, and 
so forth) aid or reduce its clarity? (4) Is the description of the 
notice in the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of the preamble helpful 
in understanding the proposed rule? (5) What else could we do to make 
this proposed rule easier to understand?
    Send a copy of any comments on how we could make this proposed rule 
easier to understand to: Office of Regulatory Affairs, Department of 
the Interior, Room 7229, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240. You 
may e-mail your comments to this address: [email protected].

Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review

    In accordance with Executive Order 12866, this document is a 
significant rule in that it may raise novel legal and policy issues, 
but it is not anticipated to have an annual effect on the economy of 
$100 million or more, or to affect the economy in a material way. Due 
to the tight timeline for publication in the Federal Register, the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has not formally reviewed this 
rule. We are preparing a draft economic analysis of this proposed 
action, which will be available for public comment, to determine the 
economic consequences of revising our critical habitat designation for 
the northern spotted owl. This economic analysis also will be used to 
determine compliance with Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Flexibility 
Act, Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act, and Executive 
Order 12630.
    Further, Executive Order 12866 directs Federal agencies 
promulgating regulations to evaluate regulatory alternatives (Office of 
Management and Budget, Circular A-4, September 17, 2003). Pursuant to 
Circular A-4, once it has been determined that the Federal regulatory 
action is appropriate, the agency will need to consider alternative 
regulatory approaches. Since the determination of critical habitat is a 
statutory requirement under the Act, we must then evaluate alternative 
regulatory approaches, where feasible, when promulgating a designation 
of critical habitat.
    In developing our designations of critical habitat, we consider 
economic impacts, impacts to national security, and other relevant 
impacts under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. Based on the discretion 
allowable under this provision, we may exclude any particular area from 
the designation of critical habitat providing that the benefits of such 
exclusion outweigh the benefits of specifying the area as critical 
habitat and that such exclusion would not result in the extinction of 
the species. As such, we believe that the evaluation of the inclusion 
or exclusion of particular areas, or combination thereof, in a 
designation constitutes our regulatory alternative analysis.
    Within these areas, the types of Federal actions or authorized 
activities that we have identified as potential concerns are listed 
above in the section on section 7 consultation. The availability of the 
draft economic analysis will be announced in the Federal Register and 
in local newspapers so that it is available for public review and 
comments. The draft economic analysis can be obtained from the internet 
Web site at: http://www.fws.gov/oregonfwo or by contacting the Oregon 
Fish and Wildlife Office directly (see ADDRESSES section).

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as 
amended by the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act 
(SBREFA) of 1996), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice 
of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make 
available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that 
describes the effects of the rule on small entities (i.e., small 
businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). 
However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of 
the agency certifies the rule will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. The SBREFA amended 
the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) to require Federal agencies to 
provide a statement of the factual basis for certifying that the rule 
will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities.
    At this time, the Service lacks the available economic information 
necessary to provide an adequate factual basis for the required RFA 
finding. Therefore, the RFA finding is deferred until completion of the 
draft economic analysis prepared under section 4(b)(2) of the Act and 
Executive Order 12866. The draft economic analysis will provide the 
required factual basis for the RFA finding. Upon completion of the 
draft economic analysis, the Service will publish a notice of 
availability of the draft economic analysis of the proposed revised 
designation and reopen the public comment period for the proposed 
revised designation. The Service will include with the notice of 
availability, as appropriate, an initial regulatory flexibility 
analysis or a certification that the rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities accompanied 
by the factual basis for that determination. The Service has concluded 
that deferring the RFA finding until completion of the draft economic 
analysis is necessary to meet the purposes and requirements of the RFA. 
Deferring the RFA finding in this manner will ensure that the Service 
makes a sufficiently informed determination based on adequate economic 
information and provides the necessary opportunity for public comment.

Executive Order 13211

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued an Executive Order on 
regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and 
use. Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. While this proposed 
rule to designate revised critical habitat for the northern spotted owl 
is a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, it is 
not expected to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or 
use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action, and no 
Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.)

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), the Service makes the following findings:
    (a) This rule would not produce a Federal mandate. In general, a 
Federal mandate is a provision in legislation, statute or regulation 
that would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, Tribal 
governments, or the private sector and includes both ``Federal 
intergovernmental mandates'' and

[[Page 32483]]

``Federal private sector mandates.'' These terms are defined in 2 
U.S.C. 658(5)-(7). ``Federal intergovernmental mandate'' includes a 
regulation that ``would impose an enforceable duty upon State, local, 
or Tribal governments'' with two exceptions. It excludes ``a condition 
of Federal assistance.'' It also excludes ``a duty arising from 
participation in a voluntary Federal program,'' unless the regulation 
``relates to a then-existing Federal program under which $500,000,000 
or more is provided annually to State, local, and Tribal governments 
under entitlement authority,'' if the provision would ``increase the 
stringency of conditions of assistance'' or ``place caps upon, or 
otherwise decrease, the Federal Government's responsibility to provide 
funding,'' and the State, local, or Tribal governments ``lack 
authority'' to adjust accordingly. At the time of enactment, these 
entitlement programs were: Medicaid; AFDC work programs; Child 
Nutrition; Food Stamps; Social Services Block Grants; Vocational 
Rehabilitation State Grants; Foster Care, Adoption Assistance, and 
Independent Living; Family Support Welfare Services; and Child Support 
Enforcement. ``Federal private sector mandate'' includes a regulation 
that ``would impose an enforceable duty upon the private sector, except 
(i) a condition of Federal assistance or (ii) a duty arising from 
participation in a voluntary Federal program.''
    The designation of critical habitat does not impose a legally 
binding duty on non-Federal government entities or private parties. 
Under the Act, the only regulatory effect is that Federal agencies must 
ensure that their actions do not destroy or adversely modify critical 
habitat under section 7. While non-Federal entities that receive 
Federal funding, assistance, or permits, or that otherwise require 
approval or authorization from a Federal agency for an action, may be 
indirectly impacted by the designation of critical habitat, the legally 
binding duty to avoid destruction or adverse modification of critical 
habitat rests squarely on the Federal agency. Furthermore, to the 
extent that non-Federal entities are indirectly impacted because they 
receive Federal assistance or participate in a voluntary Federal aid 
program, the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act would not apply; nor would 
critical habitat shift the costs of the large entitlement programs 
listed above on to State governments.
    (b) We do not believe that this rule would significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments, because only Federal lands are 
involved in the proposed designation. As such, a Small Government 
Agency Plan is not required. However, as we conduct our economic 
analysis, we will further evaluate this issue and revise this 
assessment if appropriate.

Takings

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630 (``Government Actions and 
Interference with Constitutionally Protected Private Property 
Rights''), we have analyzed the potential takings implication of 
designating revised critical habitat for the northern spotted owl in a 
takings implication assessment. The takings implications assessment 
concludes that this revised designation of critical habitat for the 
northern spotted owl does not pose significant takings implications. 
However, we will further evaluate this issue as we conduct our economic 
analysis and review and revise this assessment as warranted.

Federalism

    In accordance with Executive Order 13132 (Federalism), the rule 
does not have significant Federalism effects. A Federalism assessment 
is not required. In keeping with DOI and Department of Commerce policy, 
we requested information from, and coordinated development of, this 
proposed revised critical habitat designation with appropriate State 
resource agencies in Washington, Oregon, and California. The revised 
designation of critical habitat in areas currently occupied by the 
northern spotted owl imposes no additional restrictions to those 
currently in place and, therefore, has little incremental impact on 
State and local governments and their activities. The designation may 
have some benefit to these governments in that the areas that contain 
the features essential to the conservation of the species are more 
clearly defined, and the primary constituent elements of the habitat 
necessary to the conservation of the species are clearly identified. 
While making this definition and identification does not alter where 
and what federally sponsored activities may occur, it may assist these 
local governments in long-range planning (rather than waiting for case-
by-case section 7 consultations to occur).

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform), 
the Office of the Solicitor has determined that the rule does not 
unduly burden the judicial system and meets the requirements of 
sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order. We have proposed revised 
critical habitat in accordance with the provisions of the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). This proposed 
rule uses standard property descriptions and identifies the primary 
constituent elements within the designated areas to assist the public 
in understanding the habitat needs of the northern spotted owl.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.)

    This rule does not contain any new collections of information that 
require approval by OMB under the Paperwork Reduction Act. This rule 
will not impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements on State or 
local governments, individuals, businesses, or organizations. An agency 
may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, 
a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 
control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

    It is our position that, outside the Tenth Circuit, we do not need 
to prepare environmental analyses as defined by the National 
Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) in connection with 
designating critical habitat under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended. We published a notice outlining our reasons for this 
determination in the Federal Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 
49244). This assertion was upheld in the courts of the Ninth Circuit 
(Douglas County v. Babbitt, 48 F.3d 1495 (9th Cir. Ore. 1995), cert. 
denied 116 S. Ct. 698 (1996)).

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and the Department 
of Interior's manual at 512 DM 2, we readily acknowledge our 
responsibility to communicate meaningfully with recognized Federal 
Tribes on a government-to-government basis. No Tribal lands are 
proposed as revised critical habitat.

References Cited

    A complete list of all references cited in this rulemaking is 
available upon request from the Field Supervisor, Oregon Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES section).

[[Page 32484]]

Author(s)

    The primary authors of this package are the staff of the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter 
I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:

PART 17--[AMENDED]

    1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 16 U.S.C. 1531-1544; 16 U.S.C. 
4201-4245; Pub. L. 99-625, 100 Stat. 3500; unless otherwise noted.

    2. In Sec.  17.95(b), revise the entry for ``Northern Spotted Owl 
(Strix occidentalis caurina)'' to read as follows:


17.95  Critical habitat--fish and wildlife.

* * * * *
    (b) Birds.
* * * * *
Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina)
    (1) Critical habitat units are depicted for the States of 
Washington, Oregon, and California on the maps below.
    (2) The primary constituent elements of critical habitat for the 
northern spotted owl are:
    (i) Forest types known to support the northern spotted owl across 
its geographic range. These forest types include Sitka spruce, western 
hemlock, mixed conifer and mixed evergreen, grand fir, Pacific silver 
fir, Douglas-fir, white fir, Shasta red fir, redwood/Douglas-fir (in 
coastal California and southwestern Oregon), and the moist end of the 
ponderosa pine coniferous forests zones at elevations up to 3,000 ft 
(914 m) near the northern edge of the range and up to about 6,000 ft 
(1,828 m) at the southern edge.
    (ii) Forest types described in paragraph (2)(i) of this entry that 
are of sufficient area, quality, and configuration, or that have the 
ability to develop these characteristics, to meet the home range needs 
of territorial pairs of northern spotted owls throughout the year. A 
home range must provide all of the habitat components and prey needed 
to provide for the survival and successful reproduction of a resident 
breeding pair of northern spotted owls. The three habitat components 
required within the home range of a northern spotted owl include:
    (A) Nesting habitat. Habitat that includes a moderate to high 
canopy closure (60 to 80 percent); a multi-layered, multi-species 
canopy with large (generally greater than 30 inches (in) (76 
centimeters (cm) diameter at breast height (dbh)) overstory trees; a 
high incidence of large trees with various deformities (e.g., large 
cavities, broken tops, mistletoe infections, and other platforms); 
large snags; large accumulations of fallen trees and other woody debris 
on the ground; and sufficient open space below the canopy for northern 
spotted owls to fly. Patches of nesting habitat, in combination with 
roosting habitat (see paragraph (2)(ii)(B) of this entry) need to be 
sufficiently large and contiguous to maintain northern spotted owl core 
areas and home ranges, and be in a spatial arrangement with foraging 
habitat (see paragraph (2)(ii)(C) of this entry) that allows efficient 
provisioning of young at the nest.
    (B) Roosting habitat. Roosting habitat differs from nesting habitat 
in that it need not contain those specific structural features used for 
nesting (cavities, broken tops, and mistletoe platforms). As such, it 
generally includes moderate to high canopy closure; a multi-layered, 
multi-species canopy; large accumulations of fallen trees and other 
woody debris on the ground; and sufficient open space below the canopy 
for northern spotted owls to fly.
    (C) Foraging habitat. Foraging habitat provides a food supply for 
survival and reproduction of northern spotted owls and includes a wider 
array of forest types than nesting and roosting habitat, particularly 
more open and fragmented forests. While some foraging habitat has 
attributes that closely resemble those of nesting and roosting habitat, 
especially in the northern portions of the subspecies' range, some 
younger stands without all these attributes are used for foraging, 
especially in the southern portion of the range. Some younger stands 
may have high prey abundance and some structural attributes similar to 
those of older forests, such as moderate tree density, subcanopy 
perches at multiple levels, multi-layered vegetation, or residual older 
trees. To be fully functional for northern spotted owls, foraging 
habitat generally contains some roosting habitat attributes.
    (iii) Dispersal habitat. The dispersal of juveniles requires 
habitat supporting both the transience and colonization phases. Habitat 
supporting the transience phase of dispersal includes, at a minimum, 
stands with adequate tree size and canopy closure to provide protection 
from avian predators and at least minimal foraging opportunities. This 
may include younger and less diverse forest stands than foraging 
habitat (see paragraph (2)(ii)(C) of this entry), such as even-aged, 
pole-sized stands. These stands still require the interspersion of some 
roosting structures and foraging habitat to allow for temporary resting 
and feeding during the movement phase. Habitat supporting colonization 
is generally equivalent to roosting and foraging habitat and is 
described in paragraphs (2)(ii)(B) and (2)(ii)(C) of this entry, 
although it may be in smaller amounts than that needed to support 
nesting pairs (see paragraph (2)(ii)(A) of this entry). Dispersal 
habitats will typically occur in the intervening areas between larger 
blocks of forest that provide nesting, foraging, and roosting habitats 
for resident northern spotted owls.
    (3) Critical habitat does not include manmade structures (e.g., 
buildings, aqueducts, airports, and roads, including the land on which 
they are located) existing on the effective date of this rule and not 
containing one or more of the primary constituent elements.
    (4) Critical habitat map units. The designated critical habitat 
units for the northern spotted owl are depicted on the maps below.
    (5) Note: Index map of critical habitat units for the northern 
spotted owl in the State of Washington (Map 1-A) follows:

BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

[[Page 32485]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.011


[[Page 32486]]


    (6) Note: Index map of critical habitat units for the northern 
spotted owl in the State of Oregon (Map 1-B) follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.012


[[Page 32487]]


    (7) Note: Index map of critical habitat units for the northern 
spotted owl in the State of California (Map 1-C) follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.013


[[Page 32488]]


    (8) Olympic Peninsula Unit (Unit 1). Clallam, Grays Harbor, 
Jefferson, and Mason Counties, Washington. From USGS 1:24,000 scale 
quadrangles Anderson Creek, Brinnon, Bunch Lake, Burnt Hill, Colonel 
Bob, Deadmans Hill, Eldon, Ellis Mountain, Elwha, Finley Creek, Hunger 
Mountain, Indian Pass, Kloochman Rock, Lake Pleasant, Lake Quinault 
East, Lake Quinault West, Lake Sutherland, Larsen Creek, Lightning 
Peak, Maiden Peak, Matheny Ridge, Mount Deception, Mount Hoquiam, Mount 
Jupiter, Mount Muller, Mount Olson, Mount Skokomish, Mount Tebo, Mount 
Townsend, Mount Walker, Mount Washington, Mount Zion, Pysht, Reade 
Hill, Salmon River East, Slide Peak, Snider Peak, Stequaleho Creek, 
Stevens Creek, The Brothers, Twin Rivers, Tyler Peak, Uncas, West of 
Pysht, Winfield Creek, and Wynoochee Lake.
    (i) The Olympic Peninsula Unit consists of 331,741 ac (134,251 ha) 
in Clallam, Jefferson, Mason, and Grays Harbor Counties, Washington, 
and is comprised of lands managed by the Olympic National Forest.
    (ii) Note: Map of Olympic Peninsula Unit (Map 2) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.014
    

[[Page 32489]]


    (9) Northwest Washington Cascades Unit (Unit 2). King, Kittitas, 
Skagit, Snohomish, and Whatcom Counties, Washington. From USGS 1:24,000 
scale quadrangles Bacon Peak, Baker Pass, Bandera, Baring, Bearpaw 
Mountain, Bedal, Benchmark Mountain, Big Devil Peak, Big Snow Mountain, 
Blanca Lake, Cascade Pass, Chikamin Peak, Darrington, Day Lake, Downey 
Mountain, Eldorado Peak, Evergreen Mountain, Findley Lake, Finney Peak, 
Fortson, Gee Point, Glacier, Glacier Peak West, Groat Mountain, Grotto, 
Helena Ridge, Huckleberry Mountain, Illabot Peaks, Lake Philippa, Lake 
Shannon, Lime Mountain, Lost Lake, Mallardy Ridge, Meadow Mountain, 
Monte Cristo, Mount Baker, Mount Higgins, Mount Larrabee, Mount Phelps, 
Mount Sefrit, Mount Shuksan, Prairie Mountain, Pugh Mountain, Rockport, 
Sauk Mountain, Scenic, Shuksan Arm, Silverton, Skykomish, Sloan Peak, 
Snoqualmie Lake, Snoqualmie Pass, Snowking Mountain, Sonny Boy Lakes, 
Stevens Pass, Twin Sisters Mountain, Verlot, Welker Peak, White Chuck 
Mountain, and Whitehorse Mountain.
    (i) The Northwest Washington Cascades Unit consists of 410,872 ac 
(166,274 ha) in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, and Kittitas 
Counties, Washington, and is comprised of lands managed by the Mt. 
Baker-Snoqualmie and Wenatchee National Forests.
    (ii) Note: Map of Northwest Cascades Unit (Map 3) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.015
    

[[Page 32490]]


    (10) Okanogan Unit (Unit 3). Whatcom, Okanogan, and Chelan 
Counties, Washington. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Azunite 
Peak, Big Goat Mountain, Brief, Chikamin Creek, Crater Mountain, Hoodoo 
Peak, Hungry Mountain, Martin Peak, Mazama, McAlester Mountain, McCleod 
Mountain, Midnight Mountain, Oval Peak, Pasayten Peak, Pyramid 
Mountain, Robinson Mountain, Saska Peak, Shull Mountain, Silver Falls, 
Silver Star Mountain, Slate Peak, South Navarre Peak, Stormy Mountain, 
and Thompson Ridge.
    (i) The Okanogan Unit consists of 115,638 ac (46,797 ha) in 
Whatcom, Okanogan, and Chelan Counties, Washington, and is comprised of 
lands managed by the Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests.
    (ii) Note: Map of Okanogan Unit (Map 4) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.016
    

[[Page 32491]]


    (11) Entiat Unit (Unit 4). Chelan and Kittitas Counties, 
Washington. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Benchmark Mountain, 
Blewett, Cashmere Mountain, Chikamin Creek, Chikamin Peak, Chiwaukum 
Mountains, Cle Elum Lake, Davis Peak, Easton, Enchantment Lakes, Jack 
Ridge, Kachess Lake, Labyrinth Mountain, Leavenworth, Liberty, Mission 
Peak, Monitor, Mount David, Mount Howard, Peshastin, Plain, Poe 
Mountain, Polallie Ridge, Red Top Mountain, Reecer Canyon, Ronald, 
Saska Peak, Schaefer Lake, Silver Falls, Stampede Pass, Stevens Pass, 
Sugarloaf Peak, Swauk Pass, Swauk Prairie, Teanaway, Teanaway Butte, 
Tiptop, Trinity, Tyee Mountain, Van Creek, and Winton.
    (i) The Entiat Unit consists of 304,817 ac (123,355 ha) in Chelan 
and Kittitas Counties, Washington, and is comprised of lands managed by 
the Wenatchee and Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests.
    (ii) Note: Map of Entiat Unit (Map 5) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.017
    

[[Page 32492]]


    (12) Southwest Washington Cascades Unit (Unit 5). Clark, Cowlitz, 
King, Kittitas, Lewis, Pierce, Skamania, and Thurston Counties, 
Washington. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Bare Mountain, 
Bearhead Mountain, Big Huckleberry Mountain, Burnt Peak, Carson, Cedar 
Flats, Clear West Peak, Cougar, East Canyon Ridge, Eatonville, French 
Butte, Gifford Peak, Goat Mountain, Greenhorn Buttes, Lester, Little 
Huckleberry Mountain, Lone Butte, Lookout Mountain, McCoy Peak, 
Mineral, Morton, Mossyrock, Mount Defiance, Mount Mitchell, Mount Wow, 
Nagrom, Newautum Lake, Noble Knob, Norse Peak, Ohanapecosh Hot Springs, 
Packwood, Packwood Lake, Purcell Mountain, Quartz Creek Butte, Randle, 
Sawtooth Ridge, Siouxon Peak, Smith Creek Butte, Spencer Butte, Spirit 
Lake East, Stabler, Steamboat Mountain, Sun Top, Sunrise, Tatoosh 
Lakes, Termination Point, The Rockies, Tower Rock, Wahpenayo Peak, 
White Pass, White River Park, and Willard.
    (i) The Southwest Washington Cascades Unit consists of 523,710 ac 
(211,938 ha) in King, Pierce, Thurston, Lewis, Skamania, Cowlitz, 
Kittitas, and Yakima Counties, Washington, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie, Gifford Pinchot, and Wenatchee 
National Forests.
    (ii) Note: Map of Southwest Washington Cascades Unit (Map 6) 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.018


[[Page 32493]]


    (13) Southeast Washington Cascades Unit (Unit 6). Kittitas, Yakima, 
and Skamania Counties, Washington. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles 
Bumping Lake, Cle Elum, Cougar Lake, Darland Mountain, Foundation 
Ridge, Frost Mountain, Goose Prairie, Guler Mountain, King Mountain, 
Little Huckleberry Mountain, Meeks Table, Mount Adams East, Mount 
Clifty, Old Scab Mountain, Pinegrass Ridge, Quartz Mountain, Rimrock 
Lake, Ronald, Sleeping Beauty, Spiral Butte, Tieton Basin, Timberwolf 
Mountain, Trout Lake, and White Pass.
    (i) The Southeast Washington Cascades Unit consists of 143,400 ac 
(58,031 ha) in Kittitas, Yakima, and Skamania Counties, Washington, and 
is comprised of lands managed by the Wenatchee and Gifford Pinchot 
National Forests.
    (ii) Note: Map of Southeast Washington Cascades Unit (Map 7) 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.019


[[Page 32494]]


    (14) Northern Oregon Coast Ranges Unit (Unit 7). Benton, Lane, 
Lincoln, Polk, Tillamook, and Yamhill Counties, Oregon. From USGS 
1:24,000 scale quadrangles Alsea, Blaine, Cannibal Mountain, Cummins 
Peak, Devils Lake, Digger Mountain, Dolph, Dovre Peak, Elk City, 
Eurchre Mountain, Falls City, Fanno Ridge, Five Rivers, Flat Mountain, 
Grand Ronde, Grass Mountain, Greenleaf, Harlan, Heceta Head, Hellion 
Rapids, Herman Creek, Laurel Mountain, Mapleton, Marys Peak, Mercer 
Lake, Mowrey Landing, Neskowin, Neskowin OE W, Niagara Creek, Nortons, 
Prairie Peak, Sheridan, Socialist Valley, Springer Mountain, Stony 
Mountain, Stott Mountain, Summit, Tidewater, Tiernan, Toledo South, 
Trask Mountain, Triangle Lake, Valsetz, Waldport, Walton, Warnicke 
Creek, Windy Peak, Wren, and Yachats.
    (i) The Northern Oregon Coast Ranges Unit consists of 321,420 ac 
(130,074 ha) in Tillamook, Yamhill, Polk, Lincoln, Benton, and Lane 
Counties, Oregon, and is comprised of lands managed by the Siuslaw 
National Forest (187,562 ac (75,904 ha)) and Salem and Eugene Bureau of 
Land Management (BLM) Districts (133,858 ac (54,170 ha)).
    (ii) Note: Map of Northern Oregon Coast Ranges Unit (Map 8) 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.020


[[Page 32495]]


    (15) Southern Oregon Coast Ranges Unit (Unit 8). Coos, Douglas, and 
Lane Counties, Oregon. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Baldy 
Mountain, Callahan, Clay Creek, Coos Mountain, Deer Head Point, Dora, 
Goodwin Peak, Gunter, Kellogg, Kelly Butte, Loon Lake, Mapleton, North 
Fork, Old Blue, Reedsport, Roman Nose Mountain, Scottsburg, Sitkum, 
Smith River Falls, Tiernan, Tioga, Twin Sisters, and Tyee.
    (i) The Southern Oregon Coast Ranges Unit consists of 204,276 ac 
(82,668 ha) in Lane, Coos, and Douglas Counties, Oregon, and is 
comprised of lands managed by the Siuslaw National Forest (67,751 ac 
(27,418 ha)) and Eugene, Roseburg, and Coos Bay BLM Districts (136,525 
ac (55,250 ha)).
    (ii) Note: Map of Southern Oregon Coast Ranges Unit (Map 9) 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.021


[[Page 32496]]


    (16) Western Oregon Cascades North Unit (Unit 9). Clackamas, Hood 
River, Linn, Marion, and Multnomah Counties, Oregon. From USGS 1:24,000 
scale quadrangles Bagby Hot Spring, Battle Ax, Bedford Point, 
Bonneville Dam, Breitenbush Hot Springs, Brightwood, Bull of the Woods, 
Bull Run, Bull Run Lake, Carpenter Mountain, Carson, Chimney Peak, 
Coffin Mountain, Dee, Detroit, Echo Mountain, Elkhorn, Fish Creek 
Mountain, Government Camp, Harter Mountain, Hickman Butte, High Rock, 
Idanha, Lawhead Creek, Marion Forks, Mother Lode Mountain, Mount Bruno, 
Mount Defiance, Mount Jefferson, Mount Lowe, Mount Mitchell, Multnomah 
Falls, Olallie Butte, Quartzville, Rhododendron, Tamolitch Falls, 
Tanner Butte, Three Lynx, Tidbits Mountain, Timothy Lake, Upper Soda, 
Wahtum Lake, and Wolf Peak.
    (i) The Western Oregon Cascades North Unit consists of 334,738 ac 
(135,464 ha) in Linn, Marion, Clackamas, Hood River, and Multnomah 
Counties, Oregon, and is comprised of lands managed by the Mt. Hood and 
Willamette National Forests.
    (ii) Note: Map of Western Oregon Cascades North Unit (Map 10) 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.022


[[Page 32497]]


    (17) Hood River Unit (Unit 10). Clackamas, Hood River, and Wasco 
Counties, Oregon. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Badger Lake, Dog 
River, Fivemile Butte, Flag Point, Friend, Mount Hood South, Parkdale, 
Post Point, Wapinitia Pass, and Wolf Run.
    (i) The Hood River Unit consists of 42,863 ac (17,273 ha) in Hood 
River and Wasco Counties, Oregon, and is comprised of lands managed by 
the Mt. Hood National Forest.
    (ii) Note: Map of Hood River Unit (Map 11) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.023
    

[[Page 32498]]


    (18) Eastern Oregon Cascades Unit (Unit 11). Deschutes, Jefferson, 
and Klamath Counties, Oregon. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles 
Black Butte, Black Crater, Candle Creek, Crane Prairie Reservoir, 
Crescent Lake, Cryder Butte, Davis Mountain, Elk Lake, Hamner Butte, 
Irish Mountain, Marion Lake, Mount Washington, Odell Butte, Odell Lake, 
Prairie Farm Spring, Shitike Butte, The Twins, Three Creek Butte, Three 
Fingered Jack, and Trout Creek Butte.
    (i) The Eastern Oregon Cascades Unit consists of 106,665 ac (43,166 
ha) in Jefferson, Deschutes, and Klamath Counties, Oregon, and is 
comprised of lands managed by the Deschutes National Forest.
    (ii) Note: Map of Eastern Oregon Cascades Unit (Map 12) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.024
    

[[Page 32499]]


    (19) Western Oregon Cascades South Unit (Unit 12). Douglas, 
Jackson, Lane, and Linn Counties, Oregon. From USGS 1:24,000 scale 
quadrangles Abbott Butte, Acker Rock, Bearbones Mountain, Belknap 
Springs, Blair Lake, Buckeye Lake, Butler Butte, Chucksney Mountain, 
Clear Lake, Cougar Reservoir, Deadman Mountain, Diamond Peak, Dumont 
Creek, Fall Creek Lake, Fish Creek Desert, Fish Mountain, French 
Mountain, Goat Point, Groundhog Mountain, Hamaker Butte, Harvey 
Mountain, Holland Point, Huckleberry Mountain, Illahee Rock, Irish 
Mountain, Linton Lake, McCredie Springs, McKenzie Bridge, Mount David 
Douglas, Mount June, Nimrod, North Sister, Oakridge, Potter Mountain, 
Quartz Mountain, Ragsdale Butte, Red Butte, Reynolds Ridge, Rigdon 
Point, Saddleblanket Mountain, Sardine Butte, Sinker Mountain, Staley 
Ridge, Steamboat, Sugarpine Creek, Taft Mountain, Toketee Falls, Twin 
Lakes Mountain, Union Creek, Waldo Mountain, Warner Mountain, Westfir 
West, and Whetstone Point.
    (i) The Western Oregon Cascades South Unit consists of 448,403 ac 
(181,463 ha) in Jackson, Douglas, Lane, and Linn Counties, Oregon, and 
is comprised of lands managed by the Willamette, Umpqua, and Rogue 
River National Forests (448,324 ac (181,406 ha)) and Eugene BLM 
Districts (79 ac (32 ha)).
    (ii) Note: Map of Western Oregon Cascades South Unit (Map 13) 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.025


[[Page 32500]]


    (20) Willamette/North Umpqua Unit (Unit 13). Douglas and Lane 
Counties, Oregon. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Beaver Creek, 
Blue Mountain, Burnt Mountain, Chilcoot Mountain, Clay Creek, Cottage 
Grove, Cottage Grove Lake, Crow, Curtin, Drain, Elkton, Fairview Peak, 
Gunter, Harness Mountain, Harrington Creek, High Point, Letz Creek, 
Putnam Valley, Scaredman Creek, Scotts Valley, and Silica Mountain.
    (i) The Willamette/North Umpqua Unit consists of 119,637 ac (48,415 
ha) of lands in Lane and Douglas Counties, Oregon, and is comprised of 
lands managed by the Eugene and Roseburg BLM Districts.
    (ii) Note: Map of Willamette/North Umpqua Unit (Map 14) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.026
    

[[Page 32501]]


    (21) Rogue/Umpqua Unit (Unit 14). Douglas and Josephine Counties, 
Oregon. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Bunker Creek, Canyonville, 
Cedar Springs Mountain, Chipmunk Ridge, Chrome Ridge, Days Creek, 
Dutchman Butte, Galice, Glendale, Hobson Horn, Kelsey Peak, Live Oak 
Mountain, McCullough Creek, Merlin, Milo, Mount Peavine, Mount Reuben, 
Nickel Mountain, Onion Mountain, Quines Creek, Rabbit Mountain, Richter 
Mountain, Starvout Creek, and Tiller.
    (i) The Rogue/Umpqua Unit consists of 165,504 ac (66,977 ha) in 
Douglas and Josephine Counties, Oregon, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the Umpqua National Forest (13,147 ac (5,320 ha)) and 
Roseburg and BLM Medford Districts (152,357 ac (61,657 ha)).
    (ii) Note: Map of Rogue/Umpqua Unit (Map 15) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.027
    

[[Page 32502]]


    (22) Oregon Klamath Mountains Unit (Unit 15). Coos, Curry, and 
Josephine Counties, Oregon. Del Norte County, California. From USGS 
1:24,000 scale quadrangles Agness, Barklow Mountain, Big Craggies, 
Biscuit Hill, Bosley Butte, Brandy Peak, Chetco Peak, China Flat, 
Chrome Ridge, Collier Butte, Eden Valley, Eight Dollar Mountain, Father 
Mountain, Fourth of July Creek, High Divide, High Plateau Mountain, 
Horse Sign Butte, Illahe, Kelsey Peak, Marial, Mount Bolivar, Mount 
Butler, Mount Emily, Ophir Mountain, Pearsoll Peak, Port Orford, Quail 
Prairie Mountain, Silver Peak, Sixes, and York Butte.
    (i) The Oregon Klamath Mountains Unit is a total of 195,211 ac 
(79,215 ha), including 189,424 ac (76,657 ha) in Coos, Curry, and 
Josephine Counties, Oregon, and 5,787 ac (2,342 ha) in the northernmost 
portion of Del Norte County, California. It is comprised of lands 
managed by the Siskiyou and Six Rivers National Forests (194,745 ac 
(78,810 ha)) and Coos Bay BLM District (466 ac (188 ha)).
    (ii) Note: Map of Oregon Klamath Mountains Unit (Map 16) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.028
    

[[Page 32503]]


    (23) Klamath Intra-Province Unit (Unit 16). Jackson and Josephine 
Counties, Oregon. Siskiyou County, California. From USGS 1:24,000 scale 
quadrangles Ashland, Buckhorn Bally, Condrey Mountain, Cottonwood Peak, 
Dutchman Peak, Kerby Peak, Mount Ashland, Murphy, Murphy Mountain, 
Oregon Caves, Siskiyou Peak, Talent, and Williams.
    (i) The Klamath Intra-Province Unit is a total of 96,572 ac (39,081 
ha), including 90,437 ac (36,598 ha) in Josephine and Jackson Counties, 
Oregon, and 6,135 ac (2,483 ha) in the northern portion of Siskiyou 
County, California. It is comprised of lands managed by the Rogue-
Siskiyou and Klamath National Forests (57,977 ac (23,462 ha)) and 
Medford BLM District (38,595 ac (15,619 ha)).
    (ii) Note: Map of Klamath Intra-Province Unit (Map 17) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.029
    

[[Page 32504]]


    (24) Southern Cascades Unit (Unit 17). Jackson and Klamath 
Counties, Oregon. Siskiyou County, California. From USGS 1:24,000 scale 
quadrangles Brown Mountain, Copco, Crystal Spring, Dewey Gulch, Imnaha 
Creek, Lake of the Woods North, Lake of the Woods South, Little 
Chinquapin Mountain, MacDoel, Mount Ashland, Mount McLoughlin, Panther 
Rock, Parker Mountain, Pelican Bay, Pelican Butte, Prospect North, 
Prospect South, Red Blanket Mountain, Robinson Butte, Rustler Peak, 
Secret Spring Mountain, Siskiyou Pass, Soda Mountain, and Willow Lake.
    (i) The Southern Cascades Unit is a total of 226,430 ac (91,634 
ha), including 186,732 ac ( 75,568 ha) in Jackson and Klamath Counties, 
Oregon, and 39,698 ac (16,065 ha) in the northern portion of Siskiyou 
County, California. It is comprised of lands managed by Rogue-Siskiyou, 
Winema, and Klamath National Forests (191,612 ac (77,543 ha)) and 
Medford and Lakeview BLM Districts (34,818 ac (14,090 ha)).
    (ii) Note: Map of Southern Cascades Unit (Map 18) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.030
    

[[Page 32505]]


    (25) Coastal Redwoods Unit (Unit 18). Del Norte County, California. 
From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Gasquet, Hiouchi, and Requa.
    (i) The Coastal Redwoods Unit consists of 6,937 ac (2,807 ha) in 
Del Norte County, California, and is comprised of lands managed by Six 
Rivers National Forest.
    (ii) Note: Map of Coastal Redwoods Unit (Map 19) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.031
    

[[Page 32506]]


    (26) Coastal Humboldt Unit (Unit 19). Humboldt, Mendocino, and 
Trinity Counties, California. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Bell 
Springs, Boonville, Bridgeville, Bull Creek, Cahto Peak, Ettersburg, 
Fields Landing, Harris, Honeydew, Hydesville, Iaqua Buttes, Jewett 
Rock, Larabee Valley, Leggett, Lincoln Ridge, Mad River Buttes, 
McWhinney Creek, Noble Butte, Orrs Springs, Tan Oak Park, and Weott.
    (i) The Coastal Humboldt Unit consists of 49,308 ac (19,954 ha) in 
Humboldt and Mendocino Counties, California, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the BLM Arcata Field Office.
    (ii) Note: Map of Coastal Humboldt Unit (Map 20) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.032
    

[[Page 32507]]


    (27) King Range Unit (Unit 20). Humboldt and Mendocino Counties, 
California. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Bear Harbor, Bear 
Harbor OE W, Briceland, Cooskie Creek, Honeydew, Shelter Cove, Shubrick 
Peak, and Shubrick Peak OE S.
    (i) The King Range Unit consists of 40,308 ac (16,312 ha) in 
Humboldt and Mendocino Counties, California, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the BLM Arcata Field Office.
    (ii) Note: Map of King Range Unit (Map 21) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.033
    

[[Page 32508]]


    (28) South Fork Mountain Divide Unit (Unit 21). Humboldt and 
Trinity Counties, California. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles 
Alderpoint, Black Lassic, Blake Mountain, Board Camp Mountain, 
Dinsmore, Forest Glen, Grouse Mountain, Hennessy Peak, Hupa Mountain, 
Lord-Ellis Summit, Naufus Creek, Pony Buck Peak, Ruth Lake, Sims 
Mountain, Smoky Creek, Sportshaven, Swim Ridge, Willow Creek, and 
Zenia.
    (i) The South Fork Mountain Divide Unit consists of 141,180 ac 
(58,752 ha) in Humboldt and Trinity Counties, California, and is 
comprised of lands managed by the Six Rivers and Shasta-Trinity 
National Forests (141,054 ac (57,082 ha)) and BLM Arcata Field Office 
(4,126 ac (1,670 ha)).
    (ii) Note: Map of South Fork Mountain Divide Unit (Map 22) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.034
    

[[Page 32509]]


    (29) Eel-Russian River Unit (Unit 22). Mendocino and Trinity 
Counties, California. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Bluenose 
Ridge, Brushy Mountain, Covelo East, Foster Mountain, Four Corners 
Rock, Iron Peak, Jamison Ridge, Laytonville, Long Ridge, Mina, Newhouse 
Ridge, Thatcher Ridge, Willis Ridge, and Willits.
    (i) The Eel-Russian River Unit consists of 21,940 ac (8,879 ha) in 
Mendocino and Trinity Counties, California, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the BLM Ukiah and Arcata Field Offices.
    (ii) Note: Map of Eel-Russian River Unit (Map 23) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.035
    

[[Page 32510]]


    (30) Mendocino Coast Ranges Unit (Unit 23). Colusa, Glenn, Lake, 
Mendocino, Tehama, and Trinity Counties, California. From USGS 1:24,000 
scale quadrangles Ball Mountain, Bartlett Mountain, Black Rock 
Mountain, Brushy Mountain, Buck Rock, Crockett Peak, Elk Mountain, 
Felkner Hill, Foster Mountain, Fouts Springs, Hall Ridge, Hull 
Mountain, Kneecap Ridge, Lake Pillsbury, Log Spring, Mendocino Pass, 
Newhouse Ridge, North Yolla Bolly Mountains, Plaskett Meadows, Plaskett 
Ridge, Potato Hill, Potter Valley, Riley Ridge, Saint John Mountain, 
Sanhedrin Mountain, Thatcher Ridge, Van Arsdale Reservoir, and Wrights 
Ridge.
    (i) The Mendocino Coast Ranges Unit consists of 215,105 ac (87,050 
ha) in Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, Glenn, Tehama, and Trinity Counties, 
California, and is comprised of lands managed by the Mendocino National 
Forest.
    (ii) Note: Map of Mendocino Coast Ranges Unit (Map 24) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.036
    

[[Page 32511]]


    (31) Western Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains Unit (Unit 24). Del Norte, 
Humboldt, Shasta, Siskiyou, and Trinity Counties, California. From USGS 
1:24,000 scale quadrangles Bark Shanty Gulch, Big Bar, Broken Rib 
Mountain, Chanchelulla Peak, Dedrick, Dees Peak, Del Loma, Denny, 
Devils Punchbowl, Fish Lake, Hayfork, Hayfork Bally, Helena, Hopkins 
Butte, Hossimbim Mountain, Hurdygurdy Butte, Hyampom Mountain, Ironside 
Mountain, Jim Jam Ridge, Johnsons, Junction City, Lonesome Ridge, Mount 
Hilton, Orleans, Orleans Mountain, Pony Buck Peak, Prescott Mountain, 
Rush Creek Lakes, Salmon Mountain, Salyer, Shelly Creek Ridge, Ship 
Mountain, Somes Bar, Thurston Peaks, Tish Tang Point, Trinity Mountain, 
Weitchpec, and Wildwood.
    (i) The Western Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains Unit consists of 240,130 
ac (87,178 ha) in Del Norte, Humboldt, Trinity, Shasta, and Siskiyou 
Counties, California, and is comprised of lands managed by the Six 
Rivers and Shasta-Trinity National Forests (236,460 ac (95,692 ha)) and 
BLM Redding Field Office (3,670 ac (1,485 ha)).
    (ii) Note: Map of Western Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains Unit (Map 25) 
follows:
[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.037


[[Page 32512]]


    (32) Scott and Salmon Mountains Unit (Unit 25). Siskiyou County, 
California. Josephine County, Oregon. From USGS 1:24,000 scale 
quadrangles Boulder Peak, Cecilville, Clear Creek, Deadman Peak, 
Deadman Point, Dillon Mountain, Dutch Creek, Eaton Peak, English Peak, 
Etna, Figurehead Mountain, Forks of Salmon, Grasshopper Ridge, Grayback 
Mountain, Grider Valley, Hamburg, Horse Creek, Huckleberry Mountain, 
Indian Creek Baldy, Kangaroo Mountain, McKinley Mountain, Medicine 
Mountain, Orleans Mountain, Russell Peak, Sawyers Bar, Scott Bar, Seiad 
Valley, Slater Butte, Somes Bar, Tanners Peak, Ukonom Lake, Ukonom 
Mountain, and Yellow Dog Point.
    (i) The Scott and Salmon Mountains Unit is a total of 242,450 ac 
(98,116 ha), including 242,292 ac (98,052 ha) in Siskiyou County, 
California, and 158 ac (64 ha) in Josephine County, Oregon, and is 
comprised of lands managed by the Klamath National Forest.
    (ii) Note: Map of Scott and Salmon Mountains Unit (Map 26) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.038
    

[[Page 32513]]


    (33) Trinity Divide Unit (Unit 26). Siskiyou County, California. 
From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Billys Peak, Callahan, Deadman 
Peak, Grasshopper Ridge, and Scott Mountain.
    (i) The Trinity Divide Unit consists of 13,870 ac (5,613 ha) in 
Siskiyou County, California, and is comprised of lands managed by the 
Klamath National Forest.
    (ii) Note: Map of Trinity Divide Unit (Map 27) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.039
    

[[Page 32514]]


    (34) Shasta-Trinity Lakes Unit (Unit 27). Shasta and Trinity 
Counties, California. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Carrville, 
Covington Mill, Damnation Peak, French Gulch, Lamoine, Lewiston, Mumbo 
Basin, Papoose Creek, Rush Creek Lakes, Schell Mountain, Siligo Peak, 
Tangle Blue Lake, Trinity Center, Trinity Dam, Whisky Bill Peak, and 
Ycatapom Peak.
    (i) The Shasta-Trinity Lakes Unit consists of 86,819 ac (35,134 ha) 
in Shasta and Trinity Counties, California, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the Shasta-Trinity National Forest (85,730 ac (34,694 ha)) 
and BLM Redding Field Office (1,090 ac (441 ha)).
    (ii) Note: Map of Shasta-Trinity Lakes Unit (Map 28) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.040
    

[[Page 32515]]


    (35) Eastern Klamath Mountains Unit (Unit 28). Shasta and Siskiyou 
Counties, California. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Big Bend, 
Chicken Hawk Hill, China Mountain, City of Mount Shasta, Dead Horse 
Summit, Devils Rock, Dunsmuir, Girard Ridge, Goose Gap, Grizzly Peak, 
Lake McCloud, Minnesota Mountain, Mount Eddy, Roaring Creek, Seven 
Lakes Basin, Shoeinhorse Mountain, Skunk Ridge, Tombstone Mountain, 
Weed, and Yellowjacket Mountain.
    (i) The Eastern Klamath Mountains Unit consists of 110,756 ac 
(44,821 ha) in Shasta and Siskiyou Counties, California, and is 
comprised of lands managed by the Shasta-Trinity and Klamath National 
Forests.
    (ii) Note: Map of Eastern Klamath Mountains Unit (Map 29) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.041
    

[[Page 32516]]


    (36) Shasta/McCloud Unit (Unit 29). Shasta and Siskiyou Counties, 
California. From USGS 1:24,000 scale quadrangles Ash Creek Butte, 
Bartle, Burney, Burney Falls, Chalk Mountain, City of Mount Shasta, 
Dead Horse Summit, Elk Spring, Grizzly Peak, Horse Peak, Kinyon, Little 
Glass Mountain, McCloud, Mount Shasta, Rainbow Mountain, Skunk Ridge, 
and Tennant.
    (i) The Shasta/McCloud Unit consists of 73,316 ac (29,670 ha) in 
Siskiyou and Shasta Counties, California, and is comprised of lands 
managed by the Klamath and Shasta-Trinity National Forests.
    (ii) Note: Map of Shasta/McCloud Unit (Map 30) follows:
    [GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TP12JN07.042
    
* * * * *

    Dated: May 31, 2007.
David M. Verhey,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 07-2805 Filed 6-11-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-C