The Coalition, including OFCO, submitted its comment on the Final Environmental Impact Statement to the USFWS on the Marbled Murrelet Long-Term Conservation Strategy. The Service will be issuing a Biological Opinion and a Record of Decision immediately accepting the Washington Dept. of Natural Resources’ (DNR) preferred alternative (Alternative H). The Service will issue an incidental take permit based on Alternative H, which actually allows for “take” of murrelet habitat. The Washington Board of Natural Resources (BNR) is expected to accept the permit at its December 2019 meeting. Murrelet habitat may be harvested as early as next harvest season.
The Coalition has taken the position that Alternative H does not meet the needs of the murrelet, and that more habitat must be conserved to ensure that the species is not extirpated in Washington. Dr. Kara Whittaker, murrelet biologist with the Washington Forest Law Center, has provided scientific analysis for the Coalition. The Coalition is advocating for more conservation to protect habitat through the DNR advisory group “Solutions Table,” with the BNR, and with all other options to win more habitat for the Marbled Murrelet.