Marbled murrelet populations are declining in the Northwest Forest Plan area
The marbled murrelet, a seabird, is a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. The 1996 Northwest Forest Plan is the guiding plan for managing the bird's terrestrial habitat that runs along the coast of Washington, Oregon, and northern California. To determine if the plan is working, researchers have monitored murrelet population since 2000. By using at-sea transects in coastal waters adjacent to the plan area, scientists have estimated the size of the murrelet population, and it appears that from 2000 to 2009, murrelets have declined by 2 to 4 percent per year, depending on how the data are analyzed. Habitat losses have been minimal on federally managed lands; however, losses on private lands, and nest predation associated with urban encroachment have increased and may be responsible for some of the decline in population.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service used this information in their status assessment of the marbled murrelet. Based in part on these results, the service determined that the species should continue to be listed as threatened. Resource managers are using these findings to evaluate the role of forest conditions in contributing to the observed decline.
Forest Service Partners