October 2004 -- The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has designated critical habitat for the Mexican spotted owl on Federal lands encompassing 8.6 million acres in response to a court order.
The critical habitat boundaries include 4 million acres in Arizona, 322,326 acres in Colorado, 2.1 million acres in New Mexico and 2.2 million acres in Utah. Only habitat in those areas that contain the physical and biological features essential for the conservation of the owl is considered as critical and falls under the protection of the Endangered Species Act.
The designation of critical habitat does not affect land ownership or establish a refuge, wilderness, reserve, preserve or other conservation area. It also does not allow government or public access to private lands.
The designation was published as a final rule in the Aug. 31, 2004, Federal Register. The final rule as well as maps can be accessed via http://mso.fws.gov/on the World Wide Web.