Marbled murrelet subject of plan for long-term conservation strategy
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Marbled murrelet subject of plan for long-term conservation strategy 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
                                                                                                         
May 3, 2011

Marbled murrelet subject of plan for long-term conservation strategy
Board of Natural Resources presented with DNR’s timeline for habitat conservation strategy

OLYMPIA – The Board of Natural Resources was presented today with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) timeline for creating a long-term habitat conservation strategy for the marbled murrelet.

In 1997, DNR signed its Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries. The HCP, as it is referred to, outlines how DNR meets its obligations under the federal Endangered Species Act to conserve habitat needed by the marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, and other species.

Because there was insufficient scientific knowledge about murrelet habitat and nesting habitat in 1997, an interim strategy was created for that species. The HCP laid out a five-step process for developing a long-term conservation strategy. DNR has completed four steps, including the collection of scientific data, and now moves into the fifth and final step. During the interim, DNR has forgone logging on nearly 93,000 acres of state trust land considered murrelet habitat in southwestern Washington and the Olympic Peninsula.

“We have some tough choices ahead of us, but I will work hard to find a balance that meets my dual obligation to the sustainable harvest levels and to the Habitat Conservation Plan,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “We take very seriously our commitment to generate sustainable long-term revenue to schools and counties and to conserve habitat for the marbled murrelet.”

The goal of the long-term conservation strategy is to protect murrelet nesting areas on DNR-managed state trust forestlands while ensuring continued revenue production for trust beneficiaries. The plan will undergo environmental review and public comment before it is finalized.

Marbled murrelet science review
The dove-sized seabirds – listed as a threatened species under the federal Endangered Species Act – spend most of their lives at sea, but rely on tall, old trees in coastal areas for nesting. A team of DNR biologists and external experts worked from 2004 through 2008 to review scientific literature on the marbled murrelet, examine survey and research data collected by DNR and other researchers, and draft recommendations for conservation opportunities on DNR-managed lands. While DNR’s emphasis is the murrelet’s terrestrial habitat, there also are many  factors in the ocean that may affect recovery of the marbled murrelet.

Factsheet: Conserving Marbled Murrelet Habitat in Washington’s State Forests: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/em_fs08_218.pdf  

Members of the science team that worked from 2004 through 2008: http://www.dnr.wa.gov/Publications/lm_mamu_st_bios.pdf  

Media Contact: Bob Redling, Senior Communications Manager, 360-902-1149, bob.redling@dnr.wa.gov  

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