Marbled Murrelet Sold Out by Feds

By
Thursday, October 25th, 2012

EPIC along with 20 other conservation groups sent a letter to the Obama administration asking it to withdraw from a recent settlement agreement with the timber industry that, if approved by a federal court, would eliminate protection from nearly 4 million acres of critical habitat for the marbled murrelet until 2018.  The federally threatened murrelet — a shy, robin-sized seabird that nests on the wide branches of old-growth trees — has severely declined in the face of logging of Pacific Coast forests, a trend that continues today due to ongoing logging, according to recent studies.

The agreement must be approved by a federal district court in Washington, D.C. before it is final. The agreement stems from a challenge brought by timber industry groups to listing and protection of critical habitat for murrelets. Conservation group intervenors Audubon Society of Portland, Seattle Audubon, the Center for Biological Diversity, Oregon Wild, Conservation Northwest, the Environmental Protection Information Center, represented by Earthjustice, have opposed the agreement. The court will decide whether to approve the agreement any day, but the groups are calling on the administration to pull out of the agreement before a decision is handed down.

Recent research shows that marbled murrelets have been declining by roughly 4 percent per year range-wide since 2002.  The main factors in their decline are continued habitat loss due to logging, particularly on state and private lands, and predation. Removal of critical habitat protections could lead to further habitat loss.

Learn more about Marbled Murrelets by watching these short videos:

Mysterious Marbled Murrelet

Marbled Murrelet: Status and Threats