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Marbled Murrelet Delisting Intervention

Case Number # 1624, 2353

The marbled murrelet is a shy, robin-sized seabird that feeds at sea but nests only in old-growth forests along the Pacific Coast. (NPS)
The marbled murrelet is a shy, robin-sized seabird that feeds at sea but nests only in old-growth forests along the Pacific Coast. (NPS)

The marbled murrelet is a shy, robin-sized seabird that feeds at sea but nests only in old growth forests along the Pacific Coast. Murrelets don’t actually build nests, instead laying their single egg only when they can find a natural, moss-covered platform where the massive branches of old growth Douglas fir and redwood trees join the tree’s trunk.

In 1992, Earthjustice successfully fought to get federal protections for marbled murrelets and their habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed marbled murrelets in Washington, Oregon, and California as a threatened species due to over-logging of coastal old growth forests. Despite undisputed scientific evidence that murrelets are disappearing from the Pacific Coast, the timber industry has set its sights on the small seabird in order to increase logging of forests over 100 years old.

Timber industry attorneys have tried to force the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to remove the threatened marbeled murrelet from the Endangered Species Act. Earthjustice represented several conservation groups requesting "intevenor" status in the lawsuit.

On February 2008, a federal district court rejected the timber industry's suit. In a related matter a few weeks later, the FWS announced that it would not finalize a proposal that would have slashed murrelet habitat by almost 95 percent.

In July 2008, a federal judge in Washington, D.C., and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals both ruled in favor of retaining federal Endangered Species Act protections for the marbled murrelet.

In April 2012, Earthjustice, representing seven conservation groups, moved to intervene in a federal lawsuit brought by the timber industry to gut protections for the marbled murrelet and its critical nesting habitat.

Press Releases

Thursday, September 5, 2013
Marbled murrelets, a unique coastal bird, and their old-growth forest habitat will remain protected
Monday, April 1, 2013
Protections stay in place for marbled murrelets and their old-growth forest habitat
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Administration proposes to strip nearly 4 million acres of protected habitat from threatened seabird
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Marbled murrelet faces extinction without protection
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Decision one more reason to withdraw Bush Oregon logging plan
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Marbled murrelets outmaneuver timber industry efforts to remove protections
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Marbled murrelets and old-growth forests remain protected
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
Marbled murrelets and old-growth forests remain protected
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Julie MacDonald insisted on last minute changes to undermine bird's protected status
Monday, April 30, 2007
Lawsuit seeks removal of marbled murrelet from threatened species list, elimination of old growth forests protections