Utah Ecological Services
Mountain-Prairie Region
Utah's Mexican Spotted Owl Training

Photo of Mexican Spotted OwlBackground

The Mexican spotted owl was listed as a threatened species in 1993 (58 FR 14248, March 16, 1993) with critical habitat (69 FR 53181, August 31, 2004).  Our Environmental Conservation Online System contains information on Mexican spottted owl and can be accessed here. Our Arizona Field Office in Region 2 is the lead for Mexican Spotted Owl and maintains the primary website containing species information. The recovery plan was revised in 2012 and is available for download either from the Region 2's website or our Environmental Conseration Online System website.

Training Workshop Information

In coordination with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service, we are offer a Mexican Spotted Owl Survey Training Course each year.  The training emphasizes identification of owl habitats and use of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) 2012 Mexican spotted owl survey protocol in canyon habitats.  Completion of this survey training is mandatory for all currently permitted and future permit applicants who plan to conduct Mexican spotted owl surveys in Utah; unless you have completed a previous training session for canyon habitats that included a field portion and evaluation.

Objectives of the survey training course are to:

  1. ensure consistency and quality of surveys following the Service-approved protocol, for purposes of Endangered Species Act consultation and compliance, and
  2. increase the number of qualified surveyors in Utah, in order to increase our knowledge of the distribution of the owl in Utah. 

This training session consists of classroom and field portions.  Successful completion of all portions of the training is required to apply for, maintain, or renew survey permits in Utah.


Please note that in order to conduct Mexican spotted owl surveys, you must possess an Endangered Species Act section 10(a)(1)(A) endangered species permit or subpermit.  You may obtain an endangered species permit application (Permit # 3-200-55) form at http://endangered.fws.gov/permits/index.html Completion of the survey training course is a requirement for obtaining a permit or subpermit.

Permit processing procedures necessitate applying 90-days in advance of planned surveys to ensure timely issuance of the permit.  We strongly recommend applying for survey permits at least 3 months prior to the survey season to allow for enough time for the permit to be approved.

If you have received a permit in the past few years and plan to continue surveying, please check your permit to see if you need to renew it.  If you do, a letter stating that you have taken the survey training course, had a permit in the past, and are requesting renewal should be submitted to our Regional Office in Denver prior to your permit’s expiration date.

Permit reports must be sent to the respective Ecological Services Field Office in the state(s) where surveys are conducted, immediately following each field season.  Annual reports are necessary to maintain valid survey permits.  These reports provide us with valuable information regarding distribution of Mexican spotted owls.  Negative results are just as important to submit as positive results; in addition, annual reports should be submitted even if you did not survey for the species that year.

Materials from the Mexican Spotted Owl Survey Training

Below is the information we presented at the 2015 training.

Additional information, including the 1997 and 2000 habitat suitability models are available for download below.

Our survey protocol was last updated in 2012 as part of our revision to the Recovery Plan. If you are doing surveys in Utah, please follow the following protocol and use the following field forms.

If you are conducting surveys in Utah, part of your permit requirement is to provide us with annual reports. Part of the report is to provide us with the data you collected while in the field. To help in that effort, we ask that you fill out the Access Database provided below and e-mail that to us (see Contact Information below).

  • For older versions of Access (prior to 2000), please use this database
  • For Access 2000 to 2003, please use this database
  • For Access 2007, please use this database
  • For instructions on how to use this database, please click here

Contact Information

For more information on the Mexican Spotted Owl throughout Utah, contact Betsy Herrmann at (801) 975-3330 extension 139.

For permits to do Mexican spotted owl surveys in Utah, download Form 3-200-55 and mail it to our regional office at

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Endangered Species Permit Office
Denver Federal Center
P.O. Box 25486
Denver, Colorado 80225-0489

If you have questions regarding the permitting process, please call our permitting office at (303) 236-7400 or e-mail at permitsR6ES@fws.gov.

Last updated: March 23, 2015