[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 242 (Monday, December 17, 2012)]
[Pages 74688-74689]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-30348]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R2-ES-2012-N182; 20124-1113-0000-C2]

Final Recovery Plan, First Revision; Mexican Spotted Owl

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability.


SUMMARY: We, the Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the availability 
of our final recovery plan, first revision, for the Mexican Spotted 
Owl, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (Act). This species occurs in the States of Arizona, 
Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah, and south through the Sierra 
Madre Occidental and Sierra Madre Oriental in Mexico. The recovery plan 
includes specific recovery objectives and criteria to be met in order 
to enable us to remove this species from the list of endangered and 
threatened wildlife and plants.

ADDRESSES: If you wish to view the recovery plan, you may obtain a copy 
by any one of the following methods:
    Internet: http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans (type 
``Mexican spotted owl'' in the document title search field);

[[Page 74689]]

    U.S. mail: Arizona Ecological Services Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 2321 West Royal Palm Road, Phoenix, AZ 85021-4951; or 
Telephone: 602-242-0210.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Steve Spangle, Field Supervisor, at 
the above address and phone number, or by email at 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We announce the availability of our final 
recovery plan, first revision, for the Mexican Spotted Owl (Strix 
occidentalis lucida). The revised recovery plan was prepared by a team 
of experts from both the United States and Mexico; team members were 
appointed by the Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service's Southwest 
Region. We made the draft plan available via a Federal Register notice 
published on June 24, 2011 (76 FR 37141); this notice opened a comment 
period that ran through August 23, 2011, and requested comments from 
local, State, and Federal agencies; Tribes; and the public. We 
considered information we received from these entities, as well as that 
obtained from three independent peer reviewers, in finalizing this 
revised recovery plan.


    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants to the 
point where they are again secure, self-sustaining members of their 
ecosystems is a primary goal of our endangered species program and the 
Act (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Recovery means improvement of the status 
of listed species to the point at which listing is no longer 
appropriate under the criteria set out in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. 
The Act requires the development of recovery plans for listed species, 
unless such a plan would not promote the conservation of a particular 

Species' History

    We listed the Mexican spotted owl as a threatened species under the 
Act on March 16, 1993 (58 FR 14248). We designated critical habitat on 
August 31, 2004 (69 FR 53182). We originally completed a recovery plan 
for the Mexican spotted owl on October 16, 1995. However, updates on 
status information and experience in implementing the original recovery 
plan led to our determination that revision was warranted.
    The Mexican spotted owl nests and roosts in forested areas 
exhibiting multilayered, unevenly aged tree structure, and in steep, 
rocky canyonlands. Forested habitats used by the owl vary throughout 
the species' range and by activity (nesting, roosting, foraging, 
dispersal/migration). However, the forest types believed most important 
to Mexican spotted owls are mixed conifer, pine-oak, and riparian 
    At the time of the species' listing, chief threats to the owl's 
population in the United States were commercial-based timber harvest; 
however, at this time, the risk of stand-replacing wildfire has come 
into prominence. The revised recovery plan recommends protection of 
currently occupied home ranges, plus development of replacement 
nesting/roosting habitat over time. The plan recognizes the need to 
manage these forest landscapes to minimize the effects of large, stand-
replacing wildfires, believed to be the greatest current threat to the 

Recovery Plan Goals

    The objective of an agency recovery plan is to provide a framework 
for the recovery of a species so that protection under the Act is no 
longer necessary. A recovery plan includes scientific information about 
the species and provides criteria and actions necessary for us to be 
able to remove it from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened 
Wildlife and Plants (List). Recovery plans help guide our recovery 
efforts by describing actions we consider necessary for the species' 
conservation, and by estimating time and costs for implementing needed 
recovery measures. To achieve its goals, this recovery plan identifies 
the following objectives:
     Support the population of the Mexican spotted owl for the 
foreseeable future.
     Maintain habitat conditions necessary to provide roosting 
and nesting habitat for the Mexican spotted owl through time.
    The revised recovery plan contains recovery criteria based on 
maintaining and/or increasing population numbers and habitat quality 
and quantity. The revised recovery plan focuses on protecting 
populations, managing threats, maintaining habitat, monitoring 
progress, and building partnerships to facilitate recovery.
    As the subspecies meets recovery criteria, we will review the 
subspecies' status and consider removal from the List.


    We developed our recovery plan under the authority of section 4(f) 
of the Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f). We publish this notice under section 
4(f) Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 

    Dated: September 5, 2012.
Joy E. Nicholopoulos,
Acting Regional Director, Southwest Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
[FR Doc. 2012-30348 Filed 12-14-12; 8:45 am]