From Greenwire (subscription) today… Lots of data and background in the Federal Register notice.
The Fish and Wildlife Service proposed distinct Endangered Species Act protections Wednesday for two California spotted owl populations that have long provoked heated policy and political debate.
In a kind of split decision, the agency is proposing that the owl’s Coastal-Southern California population be listed as endangered while the larger Sierra Nevada population would receive the more lenient designation of threatened.
The proposal is not out of the woods yet. In addition to finalizing a listing decision after what will be a lively public comment period, the Fish and Wildlife Service has yet to designate critical habitat that could conceivably spread across millions of acres.