Governor Slated to Sign Bill Helping Marbled Murrelet Information Today

Mike Chapman  and Steve Tharinger sponsored the bill. Governor to sign it today.

Requires the department of natural resources to provide a report to the legislature by December 1, 2018, and each December 1st until the year after the United States fish and wildlife service issues an incidental take permit on the state trust land habitat conservation plan for the long-term conservation strategy for the marbled murrelet. Requires the report to include: (1) An economic analysis of potential losses or gains from any proposed marbled murrelet long-term conservation strategy selected by the board of natural resources; and (2) Recommendations relating to actions that support family-wage timber and related jobs, strategies on loss of revenues to the trust beneficiaries, financing county services, and conservation measures for the marbled murrelet that also provide economic benefits to rural communities. Requires the commissioner of public lands to appoint a marbled murrelet advisory committee to assist the department in developing and providing the report. Requires the standing committee with jurisdiction over state trust land management from the house of representatives and the senate, each regular legislative session, to each hold a meeting on the report and on the habitat conservation plan update process.

Engrossed Substitute House Bill No. 2285
Relating to establishing a reporting process for the department of natural resources
regarding certain marbled murrelet habitat information.
Primary Sponsor: Mike Chapman

Department of Natural Resources offers draft plans for comment on harvest, seabird – PDN

The state Department of Natural Resources has released draft environmental impact statements on the agency’s 10-year sustainable harvest calculation and its marbled murrelet long-term conservation strategy. Public comment will be taken until 5 p.m. March 9 on both documents, DNR spokesman Bob Redling said. Public meetings and webinars are planned next month. The 160-page sustainable harvest draft environmental impact statement, or EIS, and instructions for submitting public comments are available at http://www.dnr.wa.gov/shc. The 600-page marbled murrelet draft EIS and instructions for submitting public comments are available at www.dnr.wa.gov/mmltcs. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/department-of-natural-resources-offers-draft-plans-for-comment-on-harvest-seabird/

Clallam officials hear arrearage report: Murrelet, staffing, riparian zones faulted

A recipe for disaster. First a recession hits and decimates the DNR staff. Now they have staff, but their turnover is so high that few have more than 3 years of experience. The DNR rep talks about ‘hemorrhaging staff’ during a period where we hear about needing good jobs in the rural areas.  DNR sets targets before they even knew what their own scientists would allow under the Endangered species act (ESA), then blame the protections for not meeting the targets (DNR Chief Peter Goldmark is up for re-election. Is there another Democrat willing to run against him? ) DNR blames the Marbled Murrelet but I see no data that actually shows how much timber is off the table because of the ESA. Then the local Republican officials blame the starved agencies for not doing their job, and want the land management handed back to a county that cannot afford to manage it themselves. So the land will eventually be sold off to private corporations that feed the politicians in the local back rooms.

There is no questioning apparently of the statements by the DNR spokesperson on his assessment, blaming the Murrelet plan. For example, could it possibly be that there is a glut of wood on the market, and the price is low, so that the value of harvesting, especially if having to go through a complex plan is not worth it? Is it the plan’s fault, or the market’s? Over and over again, I see environmental concerns blamed for economic downturns, or gluts. Just look at the Spotted Owl controversy. The loggers have never criticized the fact that during the late 70s and early 80s the shift to shipping raw logs happened, supported by Congress and the Presidents, both Democrat and Republican. But the narrative from the industry is that it was all the fault of the spotted owl.

Thanks to former Commissioner Mike Doherty for holding the committee’s feet to the fire over their makeup. Apparently he is concerned with known conflict of interest in the committee.

Mr. Rygaard of Rygaard Logging mentioned wanting to ‘skip the environmental concerns and focus on jobs.’ What do you think got you into this mess in the first place?

The marbled murrelet, riparian zones and staffing levels are the main reasons why the state Department of Natural Resources failed to sell 92 million board feet of timber that was supposed to be sold in Clallam County from 2005 to 2014, a top DNR official told the Clallam County Trust Lands Advisory Committee on Friday. The 20-member panel is gathering information to determine whether Clallam County should reclaim management of 92,525 acres of DNR-managed forest lands in the county. Kyle Blum, DNR deputy supervisor for state uplands, explained the nuances of arrearage from the agency’s point of view in a four-hour, 40-minute meeting at the county courthouse. Rob Ollikainen reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/article/20160327/NEWS/303279979/clallam-officials-hear-arrearage-report-murrelet-staffing-riparian

State considers conservation options for marbled murrelet – Skagit Valley Herold

Some of the marbled murrelet habitat is in western Jefferson County. 

The state Department of Natural Resources is reviewing conservation plan options for the marbled murrelet, a seabird that is found along the state’s coast, including several bays on Skagit County’s shoreline. The state agency worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to draft five strategies to conserve the bird’s habitat. The options would protect between 594,000 and 734,000 acres of land managed by Natural Resources. The marbled murrelet is considered threatened under the Endangered Species Act, meaning it is likely to become endangered. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

http://www.goskagit.com/all_access/state-considers-conservation-options-for-marbled-murrelet/article_56a429ae-4a0e-573f-a06d-3e604468bf02.html

Jefferson County Dems Adopt Marbled Murrelet Resolution

The Jefferson County Democrats adopted, on Tuesday, a resolution urging the Board of Natural Resources to adopt the strongest of the alternatives it is considering for protection of marbled murrelet habitat. As a federally listed threatened species, the murrelet is protected on federal lands, but not on private lands. The bird has been protected on state trust lands under an interim conservation strategy since 1997, years before most research on the murrelet’s ecological requirements took place.

“The state’s own scientists showed in 2008 that this threatened species is still declining because of our logging practices,” said Bruce Cowan, Chair of the Jefferson County Democrats. “If this species is going to survive, we can’t just keep cutting the trust lands where these birds nest.”

The meeting followed a presentation by Kevin Schmelzlen of the Murrelet Survival Project. Not until 1974 did scientists discover that, unlike any other seabird, the murrelet nests in forests, flying as far as fifty miles inland to nest on large branches high in old growth forests. Breeding pairs switch places daily, with one parent feeding on small fish while the other incubates their single egg.

The Washington State Board of Natural Resources is currently considering five alternatives for habitat protection on state trust lands. According to Shmelzlen, only Alternative E responds to the 2008 Science Report, developed by researchers for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The issue of murrelet habitat conservation has been contentious. In 2013, the courts halted a DNR approved harvest of 12,000 acres of timber in Southwest Washington. The Forest Resources Council, an advocate for the timber industry, was unsuccessful in its attempt to have the murrelet de-listed as a threatened species.

“We’ve waited long enough for action,” said Cowan. “Adopting a clear policy based on the 2008 Science Report will make it easier for DNR to do its work. With fewer lawsuits, the flow of timber revenues to state and local governments will be more predictable,” said Cowan. “The set aside is not huge, and it could save a species from extinction.”

Little seabird’s advocates hope protection plan is near – Seattle Times

The Marbled Murrelet has been at the center of one of the most contentious environmental controversy’s in this country’s history, along with the spotted owl. The battle to save this small bird, has focused on it’s habitat, the shrinking world of old growth timber. There likely are other causes, from dwindling food sources in our warming oceans, pollution at sea and other issues, but the old growth battle has been intense. It went to court last year in an unsuccessful attempt to set aside larger tracts of timber. Here’s an update from the Seattle Times.

In 1992, a small, speedy seabird called the marbled murrelet was listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Its home — the old-growth forests of the Pacific Northwest — had dwindled, leaving it few places to nest. Twenty-three years later, the population of the bird has continued to decline. By some counts, its numbers are 50 percent lower than they were a decade ago. … The Murrelet Survival Project, which started last August, is pressuring the state and federal governments to come up with a long-term conservation plan, aimed at increasing the murrelet’s nesting habitat. Miguel Otarola reports. (Seattle Times)

Read the whole story and subscribe to the Times. Keep journalism local.

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/little-seabirds-advocates-hope-protection-plan-near/

Federal court upholds protection for threatened marbled murrelets by rejecting timber industry lawsuit – PDN

You would think that after all these decades, that the timber industry would get to work on working with the environmental organizations rather than constantly fighting a losing battle. Collaboration gains far more than constant warfare.

A federal appeals court has rejected a lawsuit by the timber industry seeking to strip Endangered Species Act protection from a threatened seabird that nests in old-growth forests. Environmentalists said the ruling Friday by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., should mark the end of a 15-year legal battle over logging trees used by marbled murrelets along the coasts of Oregon, Washington and northern California. Jeff Barnard reports. (Associated Press)

http://peninsuladailynews.com/article/20150304/NEWS/303049985/federal-court-upholds-protection-for-threatened-marbled-murrelets-by

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