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Precipitous Decline of Marbled Murrelet in Washington – How You Can Help

The Marbled Murrelet is a robin-sized bird that was listed as threatened in 1992 under the Endangered Species Act. This bird spends most of its life on near-shore waters from northern California to Alaska. It flies inland to breed high in the canopy of old-growth forest within sixty miles of shore.

The NW Forest Plan was created in 1993 to protect breeding habitat for Marbled Murrelet and Northern Spotted Owl. Without this plan there would now be no old-growth forest on state or federal lands; however, private landowners can cut any timber.

This August shocking news was published on the status of Marbled Murrelet after 20 years of the NW Forest Plan. The science report said:

  • In Washington State the Plan has not been successful--the population of Marbled Murrelet has declined 48% since 2001.
  • This decline in numbers is tied to decline in breeding habitat, mostly due to timber harvest of habitat on nonfederal lands. Marine conditions were not an important factor.
  • The decrease in both habitat and numbers is the largest in SW Washington, where there is little federal forested land. To read the full report, go to “MAMU GTR” at the bottom of http://www.reo.gov/monitoring/reports/20yr-report/

At current rates of decline there will be no Marbled Murrelet in SW Washington within 15 years!   If the SW Washington population disappears, the northern population of birds in Washington, Canada and Alaska will be genetically isolated from the southern population in Oregon and California. This genetic bottleneck could quickly lead to species extinction. The situation for Marbled Murrelets is critical.

BUT YOU CAN HELP THIS OCTOBER! To find out how, click the read more below.

 

Help Recover the Marbled Murrelet

This October you can show your support for the survival and recovery of Marbled Murrelet by sending comments or attending a meeting or panel.

We invite you to participate in creating two strategies to help the Marbled Murrelet:

  • a long-awaited plan to protect and improve Marbled Murrelet habitat on state lands
  •  finding more funding for counties that have lost state land timber revenues due to Marbled Murrelet protection. Alternative funding will reduce pressure to log state lands.

 

Long-Term Conservation Strategy for Marbled Murrelet

October 15 – DNR Headquarters, Senate Hearing Room 1, Olympia. 9:00 a.m.

At this special all-day meeting, the Board of the Washington Department of Natural Resources (BNR) will discuss four alternatives for a Long Term Conservation Strategy from 2017 to 2067 for state lands. Please attend this meeting to show your support for protecting the Marbled Murrelet. To carpool, contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

November 3 - Same time and place. BNR will announce the final language of the four alternatives and vote to have them included in a draft Environmental Impact Statement to be published in spring 2016.

Between October 15 and November 3 is when your written comments can make the most impact. This is when the details of the four alternatives will be finalized. After October 15, the Marbled Murrelet Survival Project web page will have new talking points to help you write comments.

 

Panels on State Funding for Washington Counties Impacted by Marbled Murrelet Habitat

October 8 – Raymond High School, Raymond, Pacific County -- 6:30 p.m.

October 15—The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Thurston County -- 6:30 p.m.

Since 1993 Pacific, Wahkiakum, and other counties in Washington have lost public funding from timber sales on state forests because of conservation of habitat for Northern Spotted Owls and Marbled Murrelets. To compensate, the state legislature passed two programs, the trust land transfer and state forest replacement funding. Unfortunately, neither has been well-funded. Panelists--including state representatives, county commissioners, DNR staff, and scientists--will discuss ways to find funding for these counties. For details and to reserve your seat, go to http://ofmenandmurrelets.weebly.com/events.html

Contact Charlotte Persons for more info.