05:21 PM

For Immediate Release

Commission Turns Turncoat on Marbled Murrelet

PORTLAND (June 8, 2018) – The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission reversed their February decision to uplist the marbled murrelet to endangered under the Oregon Endangered Species Act (ESA). Ironically, this was during a meeting yesterday where the Commission was supposed to adopt survival guidelines for the marbled murrelet.

Quinn Read, Northwest director for Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:

“The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission bowed to the interests of the timber industry, abandoning the conservation leadership they demonstrated just four months ago.

“Voluntary survival guidelines are inadequate to save this species. If the Commission truly believes voluntary guidelines are sufficient to manage Oregon's wildlife, then it would make fishing and hunting regulations voluntary too.

“We are extremely disappointed, but we are not done. Oregonians won't stand for this failure of leadership. Defenders will continue to work with our conservation partners to challenge this indefensible decision."


The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted on February 9, 2018 to uplist the marbled murrelet from threatened to endangered.

The marbled murrelet is a seabird that nests in old-growth and mature forests and forages at sea. Its population has declined dramatically over the decades because of extensive logging in Oregon’s Coast Range.

In response to a petition from multiple conservation organizations, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife developed a status review to assess the murrelet’s condition. The review scientifically demonstrated that murrelets need increased protections under the Oregon Endangered Species Act due largely to loss of nesting habitat from ongoing clear-cut logging. State protections are critical, because although many of Oregon’s Coast Range old-growth forests have been logged and converted into industrial tree farms, some of the best remaining older forests occur on state-managed lands.

The Oregon Endangered Species Act requires that the commission adopt survival guidelines for the species at the time of reclassification. Survival guidelines are quantifiable and measurable guidelines necessary to ensure the survival of individual members of the species. Guidelines may include take avoidance and protecting resource sites such as nest sites or other sites critical to the survival of individual members of the species. They serve as interim protection until endangered species management plans are developed by applicable state agencies and approved by the Fish and Wildlife Commission.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.