OFCO contributed to a joint comment submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Washington Department of Natural Resources on the Long-Term Conservation Strategy for the Marbled Murrelet and the permit for incidental take of endangered species on state-managed forested trust lands. The Marbled Murrelet Coalition submitted the comment.
Washington Forest Law Center (WFLC) led the key scientific and policy portion of the comments, and Conservation Northwest and Washington Environmental Council led the economic impacts analysis. Experts Dr. Kara Whittaker, David Lank and Mike Ruth provided the science and geospatial analysis. Experts Ernie Niemi and Paula Swedeen provided economic analysis. Peter Goldman, WFLC, provided the legal analysis. See the full comment here. Thank you to all OFCO members and supporters who also submitted comments.
DEADLINE: Thursday, December 6
Folks, we know this is very last-minute notice, but we would appreciate it very much if you would take quick action to send a message to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) asking them to protect this endangered species and the forests they inhabit for nesting.
This little bird is a magnificent wonder of Mother Nature. It lives on the ocean but breeds in our old-growth forests. For the past 17 years, its population has declined by 44% in our state because of habitat loss. Many environmental organizations and coalition partners have made this bird’s recovery a major priority. All of us are working very hard to protect this endangered species in our state.
Currently, there are 8 alternatives being considered of management options for the long-term protection of the Marbled Murrelet. None of the alternatives is strong enough to support a good recovery on state-managed lands. Unless strong protections are put in place, we will lose this species forever.
Please click on the link below and it will direct you to a form on DNR’s site that will take you only a couple of minutes or so to complete. The same form will also be sent to USFWS, so you do not need to duplicate efforts. Please urge them to protect this species!
Write to DNR and USFWS today to help protect Marbled Murrelets and their habitat.
The deadline for comments is December 6. Your comments will be delivered to both DNR and USFWS through the official comment portal handled by DNR.
Please click here to view a PDF document showing sample comments you can use.
Thank you for caring about our forests and wildlife!
Megan Friesen of Seattle Audubon, and our colleague in the Marbled Murrelet Survival Coalition, says, “In case you didn’t know already, July 3 is #worldseabirdday (last day the Great Auk was observed alive in 1844).”
Celebrate World Seabird Day with the Marbled Murrelet! Send this video produced by the Washington Environment Council to your friends and family! Help spread the word about this incredible little seabird!
Falls View Campground, Olympic National Forest – Patricia Jones
July and August will be hot in Washington, D.C., for federal forests. The U.S. House of Representatives passed their version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2) in a close, rancorous partisan vote of 213–211. Washington’s delegation voted along party lines with Olympic Peninsula Reps. Kilmer voting against and Herrera Beutler for the bill.
The House version included provisions for federal forests that weakened environmental protections. The Forestry title would allow unprecedented increases in categorical exclusions from National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review and analysis for parcels up to 6,000 acres for several management activities (wildfire risk, hazardous fuels reduction, forest restoration, forest infrastructure projects, special use permits). “Collaborative” projects not already excluded from environmental review would require only two alternatives to be analyzed—the “no action” and proposed action—rather than reasonable alternatives to protect the environment and mitigate harm.
Without NEPA review, the scope and scale of harvest activities will not be evaluated by the public to ensure that the project does not harm the environment. The bill also sets limits on courts for injunctive relief. The bill abolishes the “Roadless Rule” protections for all national lands systems in Alaska. The bill establishes NEPA categorical exclusions for a “pilot project” for all lands in Lincoln, Cibola and Gila National Forests in New Mexico, and establishes arbitration for dispute resolution. In conference with the Senate, these provisions will be open to change.
The Senate Farm Bill was drafted and passed in a bipartisan effort with a vote of 86 to 11 and contained none of the environmental protection rollbacks found in the House bill.
The Senate and House will go into conference on the Farm Bill after the July recess to come to agreement. The agreed bill will go back to each chamber for passage, and then to the president in September. The Farm Bill provisions will set policy for federal forests until 2023. There will be advocacy opportunities in July and August on the Farm Bill to ensure that strong protections for our federal forests are in place for the next five years. Be ready to contact your elected officials and to pass on action alerts to friends, colleagues and families in other states as the action unfolds this summer.
Marbled Murrelet, Northern Spotted Owl, Climate Change and Federal Forests
The U.S. Forest Service published their final science synthesis report for the update of the Northwest Forest Plan,
The report includes chapters on the Marbled Murrelet, Northern Spotted Owl, climate change (Vol. 1), other species and aquatic lands (Vol. 2), and tribes, cultural values and environmental justice (Vol. 3). In three volumes, the survey covers science by the Forest Service, federal agencies, tribes and universities since 1994 when the Northwest Forest Plan was enacted. The science will help lay the foundation for federal forests on the Olympic Peninsula and the 16 other forests in Western Washington, Oregon and Northern California. The area covers 24 million acres of public lands.