The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Wednesday, January 20, that the marbled murrelet will remain a threatened species and continue to receive protection under the Endangered Species Act. The announcement came in response to a petition filed by the American Forest Resource Council, a timber industry lobbying group. The announcement is welcomed news for the Environmental Protection Information Center, which has worked for years to protect the dwindling population of the small seabirds.
“The timber industry’s effort to force delisting was always ludicrous, basically exactly the opposite of what conservation science has been telling us about the murrelet’s actual status,” said Scott Greacen, EPIC’s executive director. “What’s needed now is for USFWS to stop responding to the industry’s cynical, anti-science agenda and start taking concrete steps that will actually improve the murrelet’s chances of survival.”
The threatened marbled murrelet is a small seabird that flies inland to nest on the mossy limbs of old-growth trees. During the past century, California’s murrelet population dropped from 60,000 to approximately 4,000 individuals. Humboldt Redwood Company’s (formerly Pacific Lumber) ancient redwood groves in Humboldt County are one of three remaining nesting areas in California.