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Once again, the marbled murrelet and our old-growth forests are on the chopping block. Tomorrow (May 3) two nearly-hundred-acre parcels of old-growth Douglas-fir in Wahkiakum and Pacific Counties are being considered by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources for clearcutting.
Despite the fact that this is marbled murrelet nesting habitat.
Despite the fact that the murrelet population in Washington State is just 5,600 and is declining at 7.4% per year.
Despite the fact that the murrelet has been listed as a threatened species under both federal and state endangered species legislation.
Despite the fact that the 1997 Recovery Plan for the Marbled Murrelet mandates conservation measures to stabilize and recovery the marbled murrelet populations.
Despite the fact that a team of murrelet scientists recommended in 2008 that the state should specially manage or set aside 100,000 acres of older forests on the Olympic Peninsula and in Southwest Washington for this bird.
Public Lands Commissioner Goldmark and the Board of Natural Resources are essentially ignoring this advice and are postponing the adoption of long-term conservation plan until 2013, continuing to clear-cut marbled murrelet habitat until that time.
Clearcutting is a short sighted, unsustainable way to cut timber.Not only does this practice completely remove all trees, but it creates open edges into remaining forest surrounding the cut; this provides easy access for marbled murrelet nest predators such as ravens and jays which do not traditionally hunt in old-growth forests. In addition, it destroys habitat for other species by the removal of the trees, destruction of the understory vegetation, increased soil erosion, and increased sedimentation of streams (salmon habitat).
Clearcutting is not management. It is not stewardship. It is not wise. But you are. Please take a minute of your day to write Commissioner Goldmark: Peter.firstname.lastname@example.org and the Board of Natural Resources email@example.com. Ask them to defer clearcutting of all marbled murrelet management areas until the State adopts a long-term conservation strategy consistent with its 2008 science report.
Thank you thank you from me and the murrelet. To read more on this bird, go to www.mariaruthbooks.com