The marbled murrelet, a pigeon-sized seabird, is a federally 'threatened' species covered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources' (DNR's) Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). DNR has operated with an interim murrelet conservation strategy since the approval of its HCP by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1997, when scientific knowledge about the murrelet was limited. Marbled murrelet ecology and habitat use were not well understood, particularly in relation to nesting habitat in DNR-managed forests.
DNR is working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on the Marbled Murrelet Long-term Conservation Strategy (MMLTCS) for DNR's six Western Washington HCP Planning Units: Straits, Olympic Experimental State Forest, South Coast, Columbia, South Puget, and North Puget.
The strategy will help conserve marbled murrelet habitat on state trust lands in western Washington, while allowing for timber harvest and other activities that earn revenue for public schools, counties, and other trust land beneficiaries. With this strategy, we are committed to meeting our fiduciary responsibilities to trust beneficiaries as well as working with USFWS to support marbled murrelet conservation.
DNR and USFWS have been working intensively on the development of alternatives for the MMLTCS. Both agencies have been working to create an objective and transparent analytical framework based on sound science that uses actual effects to the murrelet and ways to mitigate for those effects as a basis for building alternatives. At the November 4, 2014 Board of Natural Resources Meeting DNR presented information outlining the analytical framework that will be used for the development of the MMTLCS alternatives. The presentation can be viewed at this link.
As materials are ready for public review, they will be posted here and on DNR's SEPA Center website. If you would like to be notified about opportunities to give input during the formal environmental review process for this proposal, send your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are interested in general updates on the status of the planning process, send your name and contact information to email@example.com.
Photo credit: Nick Hatch, USFS PNW Research Station