WILD NW Action Alert #264: Support WDFW’s recommendation to classify marbled murrelets as a state endangered species
One of Washington’s most mysterious and interesting birds is in trouble. Marbled murrelets, a unique seabird that nests in large old trees, have declined significantly as their old-growth habitat has been logged off.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is recommending that murrelets be protected as a state endangered species.
I’m writing to support the state’s recommendation to uplist the marbled murrelet in Washington to an endangered status.
I believe these rare seabirds are an important part of our natural heritage and significant bellwethers for the health of our coastal old-growth forests and watersheds, places vital for Washington’s people, communities and a wide variety of fish and wildlife. With many of the old forests that support murrelets still being lost to development, logging and other threats across our region, state policies must substantially increase protections for marbled murrelets and their habitat before it’s too late.
Marbled murrelets are small plump seabirds that nest in old-growth forests along Washington’s coastal areas. Unlike other seabirds, they raise their young on wide branches of large old trees, flying daily up to 55 miles to forage in nearshore marine areas. Murrelets were listed as threatened in Washington in 1993 because of significant loss of old forest nesting habitat from logging.
Although federal habitat was then protected, logging continued on state and private lands. About 30 percent of nesting habitat on nonfederal lands has been cut down since 1993. Surveys show that the murrelet population declined by 44 percent between 2001 and 2015. Marine prey availability is another concern. Without immediate action, murrelets will be gone from Washington in the near future.
Uplisting to endangered status is a crucial step in marbled murrelet conservation and recovery in Washington. Please take this step and additional actions to protect murrelet and their old-growth habitat.