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Northern Spotted Owl Surveys of the Tillamook Burn
An old picture of the Tillamook Burn
The Oregon Department of Forestry manages a large portion (approximately 286,282 acres) of the historic Tillamook Burn.  Within this area, approximately 157,000 acres was burned in multiple fires and has been determined by the department to constitute a very large expanse of unsuitable and marginal quality habitat for northern spotted owls.
The department has been conducting monitoring surveys for northern spotted owls in order to determine if any resident spotted owl activity centers exist within this area. The agency has partitioned this landscape into 15 discrete sampling units that will be surveyed in a random order over the next 10 years.  Three units will be surveyed for two years each, until all 15 of the units have been surveyed. The first year of surveys for the project were implemented 2003.
To date, there have been no observations of northern spotted owls resulting from this project. In 2003, barred owls were reported from all three survey units. In 2004, barred owls were reported in one unit and in 2005 they were reported in two units.  The results of these surveys will allow the Oregon Department of Forestry to determine if and when it is appropriate to begin considering the Burn as potentially suitable habitat for northern spotted owls.

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