Marbled Murrelet to be Delisted?

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.


One Response

  1. Astonishing, but then again not. The MAMU is in deep, deep trouble in California. The idea that the Alaska population is not distinct from the southern populations is ridiculous. The Southern populations continue to decline. If Fish and Wildlife actually issues this proposal, they will receive more negative comments than they knew were possible; if they adopt it, lawsuits are absolutely inevitable. It is also notable that the companies that would most benefit from delisting are Big Timber companies like Charles Hurwitz’s Maxxam/Pacific Lumber, which would like to wipe out the remaining old growth redwood forests (which the MAMU relies on for survival) on its 200K-acre plus ownership on the Northern Cal coast. Maxxam/Pacific Lumber is hanging by a debt-saddled thread. Coincidence?

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