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Marbled Murrelet Habitat Contested

By Inka Bajandas
The News Review, Douglas County

The marbled murrelet spends most of its life feeding in the ocean, but it's the rarer times when the sea bird ventures inland to roost that people take notice.

The marbled murrelet's taste for old-growth forests is central to lawsuits by conservationists and the timber industry.

The timber industry maintains the federal government is overprotective of the marbled murrelet by designating areas not even used by the bird as “critical habitat.”

The industry has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is overstepping its authority and tying up timber sales by requiring unneeded and time-consuming planning to protect marbled murrelets.

Meanwhile, environmentalists say logging in Oregon's state forests is harming the bird and are calling for more stringent conservation policies.

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