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Scientists Study Marbled Murrelet Populations and Nesting Habitat Under the Northwest Forest Plan

Photo of A marbled murrelet. USDA Forest ServiceA marbled murrelet. USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : The marbled murrelet is listed as threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Conservation of the murrelet is an objective of the Northwest Forest Plan, and effectiveness monitoring of murrelet population and habitat trend is key to informing managers if the plan is achieving that objective.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Raphael, Martin G. 
Research Location : Washington, Oregon, California
Research Station : Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNW)
Year : 2015
Highlight ID : 838


Scientists have monitored the species for 20 years and documented the status and trend of murrelet populations and their nesting habitat. Results show that population size has declined in Washington, but that there is no evidence of trends in Oregon and California. Variation in population size along the coast is correlated with variation in amounts of suitable nesting habitat. Total amount of nesting habitat has declined over the 20 years of monitoring, more so on nonfederal land. Within federal lands, 90 percent of suitable nesting habitat occurs within reserved land allocations.

Results are being used by U.S. Fish and Wildlife in consultations with land managers and by the National Forest System in evaluating whether the Northwest Forest Plan is achieving its objectives for habitat conservation. The Washington Department of Natural Resources also is using results to inform development of a long-term conservation strategy for marbled murrelets on state lands.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • Region 5
  • Region 6
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Program Areas