Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Comments on Marbled Murrelet plan due tomorrow at 5 PM!

 Tommorow 3/9/2017 at 5 PM is the deadline for comments on the Washington Department of Natural Resourses Draft Conservation Strategy for the Marbled Murrelet. It has its good points, but unfortunately all the alternatives would allow logging in Marbled Murrelet nesting habitat! Everyone needs to comment ASAP and let DNR know that they need to analyze and adopt a new conservation option.

For more details head to the DNR's website:

Conservation Northwest's take on the issue:

If you write your own letter it'll have the most impact, but I'll provide Conservation Northwest's sample letter for you to use as an example. Be sure to include SEPA File No. 12-042001 in the subject line of the email and in the comment itself. Send your comment to:

I’m writing to provide comment on the Long-Term Conservation Strategy for the Marbled Murrelet Draft Environmental Impact Statement (SEPA File No. 12-042001) and request that you analyze and adopt a new Conservation Alternative that protects all murrelet nesting habitat, prevents fragmentation, and restores degraded areas to promote murrelet recovery.

Marbled murrelets are plump, vigorous seabirds that nest in old-growth forests along Washington’s coastal areas. Unlike other seabirds, they raise their young on wide mossy branches of older trees, flying daily up to 55 miles to forage in nearshore marine areas. Murrelets were listed as threatened in Washington in 1993 after significant loss of its old forest habitat from logging.

Although federal habitat was then protected, logging continued on state and private lands. About 30% of murrelet nesting habitat on nonfederal lands has been cut down since 1993. Marine prey availability is another concern. Surveys show that the murrelet population declined by 44% between 2001 and 2015. Without immediate action, murrelets will be gone from Washington in the near future.

Washington’s state lands are vital to murrelet recovery. Their proximity to marine areas provides a shorter and less risky commute for murrelets between nesting and foraging areas. State lands are more productive than other higher elevation forests further inland, more rapidly developing into murrelet habitat. Most importantly, scientists emphasize that protecting existing habitat in the near-term is essential to maintain murrelets on the landscape, at least until degraded habitat on federal lands recovers in the years ahead.

I want you to do more to help murrelet populations recover on state lands. Washington’s Fish and Wildlife Commission recently determined that murrelets are seriously threatened with extinction. Yet, all of the options presented in the Draft Murrelet Strategy involve harvest of some murrelet nesting habitat, when it is well known that will only be harmful.

Marbled murrelets are an essential aspect of our natural heritage and signify the health of our coastal old-growth forests and watersheds, places vital for Washington’s people, communities and a rich diversity of fish and wildlife. I urge you to evaluate and adopt a new Conservation Alternative that fully protects and restores murrelet habitat, and provides the best opportunity for marbled murrelet recovery in Washington.

Thanks for the opportunity to provide comment.