Marbled Murrelets Protected Again

By
Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

MAMU_AlaskaFWSThe DC Circuit Court of Appeals rejected yet another attempt by the timber industry to remove federal endangered species protections from the marbled murrelet. The appeal was the timber industry’s fifth attempt—and fifth loss—in the past decade to eliminate protections for the old growth forests that marbled murrelets call home, despite undisputed scientific evidence that has shown murrelets are continuing to disappear from the coasts of Washington, Oregon and California.

On appearance alone, the marbled murrelet doesn’t appear to be very remarkable. The murrelet is a small seabird mottled with streaks of brown, grey and white—the timber industry dismissively compares the murrelet to a pigeon. But looks can be deceiving—the marbled murrelet is quite extraordinary. Murrelets make their home in old growth forests and travels daily up to 50 miles from the coast to return home. (Let’s see a pigeon do that!) Each year, breeding murrelets return to the same home forest. The murrelet does not build a nest; females lay a single egg in mossy deposits high in old growth trees.

Marbled murrelets are near the brink of extinction in California. Only a few nesting areas remain in the whole state. But EPIC has their back. Since the marbled murrelet was listed under the Endangered Species Act in 1992, EPIC has zealously defended the murrelet and its remaining habitat. In 1995, EPIC’s instrumental victory in Marbled Murrelet v. Babbitt was instrumental in the creation of Headwaters Forest, one of the last intact tracts of murrelet habitat. The DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision is yet another victory benefitting the murrelet and the big, old trees on which it depends.

Despite five consecutive losses, we are sure that the timber industry will continue to try to delist the murrelet by any means possible. That’s where we come in: EPIC will continue to stand guard against industry attacks on the murrelet and the ancient forests it calls home.

This work is made possible by people who value big, old forests and want to see that the wildlife that inhabit these forests receive the best possible protections. Make a donation now and help EPIC continue to fund groundbreaking litigation to protect marbled murrelets and old-growth forests.