State releases plan for protecting the marbled murrelet


The highly contentious ongoing story of the State’s attempt to protect the endangered marbled murrelet continues. Whether this attempt will be successfull, it’s the first real movement since interim plan of 1997. As the article points out, there is a timber revenue stream at stake, and the enviromentalists following this point out that it’s likely not enough to save the bird long term.  I must say, having been over in Skagit valley in the last year, the arguement that they need more timber to harvest seems absurd, in that their mills are seemingly being buried under mounds of raw logs waiting to be milled. I saw a stack of logs about 4 stories high when I drove by, the largest I had seen in decades. So I would question their acting like they were being starved for logs. Of course, there is a revenue stream if you simply cut everything, but that isn’t the answer to saving the bird.  The question is constantly asked, “What is the value of wildlife?” Is an answer to that, “That’s the wrong question.” Maybe we should be asking, “Why must everything have a value assigned to it?”

After two decades of studying a small bird called the marbled murrelet that is found in coastal habitats of Washington including in Skagit County, the state has released a new management plan for the species. The management plan was drafted by and applies to lands managed by the state Department of Natural Resources. It is the outcome of a multiyear environmental impact statement, or EIS, process that weighed options for protecting the bird and supporting the state’s timber industry. The marbled murrelet is federally listed as threatened due to the loss of coastal forest habitat where it nests and raises its young. The once-abundant species is now estimated to be down to about 6,000 in the state, according to a news release. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

State releases plan for protecting the marbled murrelet

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