Feds: Mexican owl recovery could cost $42M by 2022

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- The federal government estimates it will cost more than $42 million over the next decade to help get the Mexican spotted owl off the endangered species list.

The estimate is included in a final recovery plan for the owl that was released Monday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The plan covers everything from the bird's habitat requirements to uncertainties such as worsening drought and catastrophic wildfires.

The owl was first listed as threatened in 1993. More than 8 million forested acres in four Western states -- Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado -- have been set aside by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife as critical habitat for the bird.

The agency says in the plan that the biggest threat facing the owl has shifted from logging to stand-replacing wildfires.

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