Endangered Species:

Spotted Owl Petition Evaluation Beset by Problems

RCED-89-79: Published: Feb 21, 1989. Publicly Released: Feb 21, 1989.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's (FWS) decision to deny a petition to list the northern spotted owl as an endangered species.

GAO found that FWS: (1) delayed its decision about whether to conduct a study; (2) did not allow adequate time for a study team to conduct a thorough investigation; (3) extensively rewrote the draft report to support denial of the listing petition, even though the study team concluded that the owl was probably endangered; (4) considered factors unrelated to the owl's biological condition, inconsistently with the relevant statute; and (5) did not thoroughly document the petition process. GAO also found that FWS: (1) considered the Endangered Species Act cumbersome to implement; (2) believed that interested parties would delay owl protection initiatives and initiate costly legal actions; and (3) believed that cooperative agreements with other federal agencies would enable some protective efforts at less cost to the government.

Mar 12, 2018

Feb 22, 2018

Jan 26, 2018

Jan 19, 2018

Jan 4, 2018

Dec 22, 2017

Dec 13, 2017

Nov 15, 2017

Nov 2, 2017

Oct 30, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here