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Marbled Murrelets in Oregon

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

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 and invertebrates. During the breeding season, they fly inland to nest in older conifer forests.

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

2021 Marbled Murrelet Status Review

In December 2019, the Commission directed Department staff to re-evaluate the status of the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) in response to a Circuit Court judgement related to the Commission's June 2018 decision not to uplist the Marbled Murrelet from threatened to endangered under the OESA. In June 2021 Department staff completed the updated Marbled Murrelet Biological Assessment and status review using the most recent verifiable data and other additional information since our previous review in 2018.

The Commission held a workshop on June 17, 2021 where staff provided background on the Biological Assessment of the Marbled Murrelet and status under the Oregon ESA 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 to reclassify the Marbled Murrelet as endangered under the OESA and adopted Survival Guidelines as required by OESA.

Survival Guidelines, State Agencies with a Role in the Conservation of Marbled Murrelets, Endangered Species Management Plans

Survival guidelines for the Marbled Murrelet were adopted in July 2021 by the Commission (OAR 635-100-0137). Survival guidelines are quantifiable and measurable guidelines necessary to ensure the survival of individual member of the species. The survival guidelines require certain management actions and consultations to protect the Marbled Murrelet on state-owned and leased lands, such as state forests, state parks, and ODFW wildlife areas. The guidelines do not apply to private lands or other non-state public lands.

In November 2021, the Commission determined that ten state agencies (including ODFW) who own, manage, or lease lands can play a role in the conservation of the Marbled Murrelet. In August 2022, the Commission further approved the role for ODFW lands and was also updated on other state agency's roles. Each of the roles described by the ten agencies is the foundation of their individual Endangered Species Management Plans (ESMPs) for the conservation of murrelets as required by OESA.

The Endangered Species Management Plans from each state agency whose lands were determined to play a role in murrelet conservation were submitted to the Commission in January 2023 and approved on April 21st, 2023 at the Commission meeting in Welches.

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