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Group demands marbled murrelet protection


SALEM -- The Audubon Society of Portland wants the Oregon Department of Forestry to do a better job of protecting marbled murrelet habitat.


"I'm looking at the recovery plan, and it looks like the birds are in decline," said Meryl Redisch, the group's executive director. She said the department should consider a stronger plan "to change that trajectory from decline to recovery."


The marbled murrelet is a robin-sized sea bird that nests in old-growth forests near the Pacific Ocean. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1992 listed the bird as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.


Department Deputy Director Mike Cafferata said the agency performs biological assessments before approving timber sales and takes other measures to ensure murrelet habitat is protected.


In testimony before the Oregon Board of Forestry Jan. 5, Redisch said the bird's population has declined 4 percent a year since 2001.


Redisch said she would like the state to take a hard look at "practices related to murrelets and their habitat needs."


"There are timber sales we are concerned about, and some of them go back quite a ways," she said in an interview after her testimony.


Redisch declined to identify specific sales of concern, but said they include sales on private and state-owned forests.


-- Mitch Lies



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