Blog: Marbled Murrelets—The Sounds of Silence

By Bob Ferris

Those times when the folks at Cascadia Wildlands are most quiet are generally the times when we are most busy.  That is certainly the case with the marbled murrelet lawsuit over logging in the Elliott and two other state forests in Oregon.  Right now our lawyers are deep into the “discovery” phase while the de facto injunction on logging 10 sales in murrelet habitat continues.  Discovery is where members of our staff produce any and all documents or communications that we might have—electronic and hardcopy—relating to the murrelets or the Elliott and our work with both. It is also an opportunity to procure the state of Oregon's documents pertaining to marbled murrelets and state forest management.

For many such as Josh Laughlin—our campaign director who has been with Cascadia since the beginning—this is a daunting task as the Elliott has been on our radar screen for a decade or so.  But it is likely an even larger task for Francis Eatherington, our conservation director, who not only has worked on this forest for more years than that, but has done so for multiple organizations.  For both of them this means digging up files and collecting information from boxes and frequently archaic disk drives.  And then there is organizing of these documents by Nick Cady and Dan Kruse—our current and fomer legal directors.  
The materials in boxes are often times easier because that is simply a matter of digging through and looking at papers.  The electronic materials are trickier because most folks cycle through a few computers over the course of a decade and probably change e-mails as well as service providers and e-mail programs.  Think for a moment how many of your turn-of-the-millennium documents you might be able to recovery and you get an ideal of the scale of this task.  
This is one of the important, but non-glamorous parts of our jobs.  But given what is at stake and what we are trying to accomplish, a little digging and electronic dousing for long-forgotten files seems a small price to pay.  Thanks to Josh, Francis, Nick and Dan and our whole legal team.  I am sure there is a newly fledged murrelet out there whose existance ws either made possible or enhanced by what all of you are doing.
— Bob Ferris
To contribute to the Marbled Murrelet Legal Defense Fund and support this this effort, please visit here.