Groups ask Oregon to boost protection for seabird

Logging is blamed for the declining numbers

A marbled murrelet nesting on a tree branch in Oregon. (AP Photo/Courtesy of David Forthoffer, undated)
A marbled murrelet nesting on a tree branch in Oregon. (AP Photo/Courtesy of David Forthoffer, undated)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Conservation groups are seeking to have the marbled murrelet listed as “endangered” under the Oregon Endangered Species Act, and also want the state to identify and protect forest sites considered vital to the bird’s survival.

The marbled murrelet was listed as threatened in the 1990s and habitat protection has meant less logging in the Northwest. The tiny seabirds venture inland to raise their young and – like the spotted owl – depend on old-growth forests for nesting.

Nick Cady is the legal director for Cascadia Wildlands. He contends the state hasn’t taken meaningful steps to protect murrelets, and logging activity on Oregon forests has sped the decline of breeding habitat.

On Tuesday, Cascadia Wildlands and other groups petitioned the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to list the bird as endangered. A separate petition asks the Board of Forestry to protect forest sites.

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