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Marbled Murrelets in Oregon

Marbled Murrelet
Photo by
U.S. Forest Service Martin Raphael

About the Marbled Murrelet

The Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) is a small seabird that breeds along the Pacific Coast from Alaska to central California.

Marbled Murrelets spend most of their lives in marine waters and forage at sea primarily on small fish. During the breeding season, they fly inland to nest in older forests.

The Marbled Murrelet was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1992, threatened under the Oregon Endangered Species Act (OESA) in 1995 and then recently reclassified as Endangered in July 2021.

2018 Marbled Murrelet Status Review

In June 2016, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission (Commission) was petitioned to reclassify, or “uplist”, the Marbled Murrelet from threatened to endangered under the Oregon Endangered Species Act (ESA). In response, ODFW staff developed a “Status Review of the Marbled Murrelet in Oregon and Evaluation of Criteria to Reclassify the Species from Threatened to Endangered under the Oregon Endangered Species Act” with input from peer-reviewers, interested and affected parties, and the general public. All comments received were considered in the development of the final report. In June 2018, the Commission declined to reclassify the Marbled Murrelet as state-endangered, and the species remained state listed-threatened.

In August 2018, the Commission adopted Advisory Survival Guidelines for Marbled Murrelet (OAR 635-100-0137). The survival guidelines encourage certain actions to protect the Marbled Murrelet on state-owned or leased lands, such as state forests; they do not apply to private lands or other non-state public lands.

2021 Updating the Marbled Murrelet Status Review

As announced at the December 6, 2019 meeting, the Commission directed Department staff to re-evaluate the status of the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) in Oregon. This decision is in response to a Circuit Court judgement related to the Commission's June 2018 decision to not uplist the Marbled Murrelet from threatened to endangered under the Oregon ESA. The 2021 Marbled Murrelet biological assessment and status review includes the most recent verifiable data and other additional information since 2018.

A workshop for ODFW Commission was held on June 17, 2021 where staff provided background for the upcoming review of the marbled murrelet’s status under the state’s Endangered Species Act including general marbled murrelet biology, review schedule, and consideration process and criteria under the Oregon Endangered Species statutes.

On July 9, 2021 the Commission voted reclassify the Marbled Murrelet as endangered under the OESA.

Additional Resources

  • Oregon Administrative Rules, Division 100 for rules pertaining to the Threatened and Endangered Species List; Criteria and Procedures for Listing, Reclassifying, and Delisting Threatened and Endangered Species; and State Agency Cooperation

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