Northern Spotted Owl Critical Habitat Analysis

Photo Credit: Shane Jeffries/USFS

For the past 15 years, IEc has worked closely with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service to evaluate the economic implications of protections under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Marine Mammal Protection Act. Most notably, IEc has developed over 200 separate economic analyses of proposed rules designating critical habitat for ESA-listed species.

For example, IEc developed the economic analysis of a critical habitat rule for the northern spotted owl, assessing costs of species and habitat conservation practices on approximately 14 million acres of forested land in California, Oregon, and Washington. Weighing the benefits and costs of designating particular habitat required: 1) clearly defining how the species was being managed under the baseline according to multiple federal, state, and local regulations, policies, and plans; 2) identifying where and how the rule may trigger additional conservation—in particular with respect to timber management—to avoid adversely affecting the critical habitat; and 3) monetizing the costs of those incremental conservation efforts or changes in land management. IEc’s analysis relied on extensive digital mapping, project and resource management plans, market data, interviews with key land managers and stakeholders, and regional economic modeling.

The northern spotted owl critical habitat analysis called for significant public involvement, preparation of litigation-sensitive materials, adherence to court-ordered deadlines, and briefings to the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the Small Business Administration, and Departmental Solicitors.

Full Report Client U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service