According to Yahoo News the Marbled Murrelet is, again in danger of being delisted.
There seem to be two resons. First:
A federal proposal would slash the critical habitat in Oregon, Washington and California set aside under the Endangered Species Act for the marbled murrelet, a threatened sea bird, by about 95 percent, to 221,692 acres.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday the bird already is protected by other plans such as the Northwest Forest Plan and state and tribal management plans on the 3.37 million acres that would lose the critical habitat designation.
A Fish and Wildlife proposal to delist the bird entirely is on hold pending a range-wide survey of its populations.
The delisting proposal is based on the idea that the 17,000 to 20,000 birds living off Washington, Oregon and California are not distinct from the nearly 1 million other murrelets living off the coasts of British Columbia and Alaska. [despite genetic studies showing the exact opposite – afarensis]
Chris West of the American Forest Resource Council, an industry group, took issue with fears that the proposal could lead to extinction.
“We’re still looking at it but it is in the right direction,” he said. “The bigger issue to us is why the species is listed at all.”
He said the listing was based on an assumption that the U.S.-Canadian border was a line between two distinct murrelet populations.
“There are hundreds of thousands of the birds all the way around the Pacific to the Russian shore,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to have the bird listed. That’s still the underlying issue.”
Readers of Chris Mooney’s The Republican War on Science should be familiar with these tactics already.
Filed under: War on Science