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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 on small fish and invertebrates. Throughout much of their range, they fly inland for nesting in older forests.

The Marbled Murrelet was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1992 and threatened under the Oregon Endangered Species Act in 1995. The species is currently listed as state-endangered in both Washington and California.

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.

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.

2020 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.

By mid-year 2020, the Commission will decide whether current circumstances meet legal requirements to justify reclassification of the Marbled Murrelet as endangered or that the seabird remain listed as a threatened species. In making a reclassification determination, the Department is required to consult with affected public agencies, federally-recognized Indian tribes, and interested individuals and organizations. An initial consultation letter along with a briefing paper was sent as a component of the process.

Opportunity for Public Comment

If you would like to be notified of upcoming Commission meetings, you can;sign up to receive meeting schedules electronically.

Information on meeting procedures and guidance on providing testimony are available here.

Written comments may be sent to odfw.marbledmurrelet@state.or.us or to the Commission.

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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