Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Spotted Owl Management, Policy, and Research Collection, 1969-1993

Historical Note:

E. Charles “Chuck” Meslow directed or worked for the Oregon Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit from 1971 until his retirement in 2001. Meslow’s research focused on the predation habits of hawks and owls, specifically the northern spotted owl. He served on the Interagency Scientific Committee charged with developing management options to address the conservation needs of the northern spotted owl. Meslow was awarded the prestigious Aldo Leopold Award by The Wildlife Society in 2005.

The Oregon Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit is a multi-agency collaborative program based in Oregon State University’s Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (later the U.S. Geological Survey), the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Wildlife Management Institute and OSU.

The northern spotted owl primarily inhabits old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest (British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon) and northern California. Controversy regarding the northern spotted owl began in the mid-1980s and was centered on the issue of preservation of spotted owl habitat versus timber resource use. In 1990, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the northern spotted owl as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act and the Interagency Scientific Committee proposed a conservation strategy that included northern spotted owl habitat conservation areas (HCAs). Legal challenges continued through the early 1990s. President Bill Clinton convened a landmark Forest Conference in Portland, Oregon, in 1993 resulting in the Northwest Forest Plan which viewed forest management from a broad ecological perspective.

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