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Groups Join Legal Battle to Protect Rare Seabird From Timber Industry Attack

Center for Biological Diversity

Contacts: Kristen Boyles, Earthjustice, (206) 343-7340 x 1033; Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495; Bob Sallinger, Audubon Society of Portland, (503) 380-9728; Virginia Cramer, Sierra Club, (804) 225-9113 x 102

Marbled Murrelet Faces Extinction Without Protection

SEATTLE— Seven conservation groups today filed to intervene in a federal lawsuit brought by the timber industry to gut protections for the marbled murrelet and its critical nesting habitat in Washington, Oregon and California. The suit, pending in Washington, D.C. district court, is the timber industry’s third such attempt in the past decade.

“Unless we keep protections on federal public old-growth forests that murrelets need to nest and raise their chicks, our murrelets will go extinct,” said Kristen Boyles, an attorney with Earthjustice. “The timber industry lost its previous lawsuit attacking murrelets, and we want to make sure it loses again.”

The marbled murrelet is a shy, robin-sized seabird that feeds at sea but nests only in old-growth forests along the Pacific Coast. Murrelets don’t actually build nests, instead laying their single egg only when they can find a natural, moss-covered platform where the massive branches of old-growth Douglas fir and redwood trees join the tree’s trunk. In 1992, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed marbled murrelets in Washington, Oregon and California as a threatened species due to over-logging of coastal old-growth forests. Despite undisputed scientific evidence that murrelets are disappearing from the Pacific Coast, the timber industry has set its sights, once again, on the small seabird in order to increase logging of forests more than 100 years old.


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