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Commission Grants Extension for Review of Potential Burrowing Owl Protections
Friday, June 21, 2024

As detailed in our previous Legal Alert, six conservation groups filed a petition with the California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) on March 5, 2024 to request the implementation of legal protections for five populations of the western burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia hypugaea) as a threatened or endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). If the burrowing owl is granted such protections, it will have far-reaching impacts on development projects in south and central-western California; the San Francisco Bay Area; and the Central, Coachella, and Imperial Valleys. 

On March 18, 2024, Commission staff transmitted the petition to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) to conduct its formal 90-day petition evaluation. However, pursuant to California Fish and Game Code section 2073.5, the Department requested a 30-day extension to complete its evaluation, which the Commission unanimously approved earlier this week at its June 19 meeting.

With this extension, the Department’s evaluation is now due July 16, 2024, and the Commission will formally receive the Department’s evaluation and recommendation at its August 14-15, 2024 meeting. We will continue to track the progress of this petition and provide subsequent legal updates as things develop over the next few months.

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