Cascadia Wildlands has been working with its allies at the Center for Biological Diversity, Portland Audubon Society and Crag Law Center to halt the ongoing “take” of the Endangered Species Act-listed marbled murrelet on three of Oregon’s state forests for over three years now (as of 2012), and process has taken numerous twists and turns.
In first monumental case against the Oregon Department of Forestry — Cascadia Wildlands et al v. Kitzhaber et al, plaintiffs successfully argued that the older rainforest clearcutting in occupied marbled murrelet habitat on the Elliott, Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests is contributing to “take” of the species which is strictly prohibited by law.
The state was forced to drop 28 timber sales it had planned in old growth forests occupied by marbled murrelets. This huge first step set the stage for a long term conservation solution for the Elliott and began legislative efforts by Cascadia and a broad coalition of conservation interests in permanently protecting the old-growth forest left on the Elliott.
Following this legal victory however, the Department of State Lands decided to sell just under 3,000 acres of the Elliott to cover budget shortfalls. While this sale is potentially useful at creating a per-acre price for the Elliott State Forest that would create conservation purchaser options, the sale ultimately resulted in the sale of pristine old-growth forest to private timber corporations at an 88% percent discount from the appraised value of the land. To combat this virtual giveaway of public land to private timber interests, Cascadia again filed suit with Portland Audubon and the Center for Biological Diversity to prevent and invalidate this sale. Furthermore, citizen-scientist surveyors recently observed nesting behavior exhibited by murrelets in the three parcels that have recently been sold to big timber. Cascadia and its allies filed a 60 day notice letter warning these purchasers and the Fish and Wildlife Service of potential harm that could behalf these murrelets if these occupied stands are clearcut.
We have been developing this campaign for over a decade now, and have finally secured the big first step in achieving a long-term conservation victory for the Elliott State Forest and the imperlied murrelet. We hope our friends and bird lovers everywhere do what they can to support us in these important efforts. This imperiled seabird needs our help and we need your help to get the job done.
Click here for more information about the marbled murrelet.