Marbled Murrelet remains on threatened list

The Marbled Murrelet sea bird remains on the threatened species list under the Endangered Species Act thanks to a recent U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department decision.  A five year review of the status of the sea bird by the department concluded that it should remain on the threatened list. Washington, Oregon and California are the states affected by the decision.

The bird, first listed as threatened in 1992, survived a Bush Administration attempt to de-list it in 2004.

The problem for the Oregon timber industry is that the listing inhibits logging on the 1,338,200 acres of federal land in Oregon designated as “critical habitat for the Marbeled Murrelet.”  Although timber can be harvested, timber sale programs on federal lands require consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to review and assess the potential impacts of timber harvest on the Marbled Murrelet.

Like the Spotted Owl critical habitat for the Marbled Murrelet is mainly mature and old growth forests.

The recovery plan for the Marbled Murrelet listed 175,100 acres of state land, 1,100 of county land and 900 acres of private land as areas of “critical habitat.”  The federal land is spread out through, Benton, Coos, Curry, Clatsop, Douglas, Lane, Lincoln, Polk, Tillamook and Yamhill counties.

“Critical habitat,” is defined as areas of land and water and biological features essential to the conservation of a threatened or endangered species and which may require special management considerations or protection.  Under the Endangered Species Act conservation means that a species is no longer threatened or endangered.

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