Marbled Murrelet Recovery

Marbled Murrelet Recovery

In 1997, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources signed a multi-species Habitat Conservation Plan agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries to meet its obligation under the Endangered Species Act to conserve habitat for the marbled murrelet, a threatened sea bird which nests in old growth forests. Since then, federal, state and tribal agencies and private landowners, along with university researchers, have been working with the USFWS to recover the marbled murrelet. This spring public scoping meetings have been held by the DNR and FWS for the Marbled Murrelet Conservation Strategy – Phase I, the last two of which will be May 8 in Cathlamet, and May 9, in Forks. Washington based USFWS fish and wildlife biologist Deanna Lynch talks about the current status of and threats to the marbled murrelet population.

LYNCH: We’ve been able to document that we have about a 27 percent decline over the last decade throughout the (bird’s) range, and we’ve got about a 45 percent decline just here in Washington. Threats in the terrestrial environment for murrelets primarily is past and ongoing removal of their nesting habitat, and that removal can occur because of harvest - people taking the timber, or from fire, or from wind. We know in the past they were taken in gill nets, and with water quality we have a lot of pollution issues here in the Puget Sound in particular.

The public is encouraged to submit their Phase I written comments to the DNR by May 30.

I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network. 

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