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3.7M acres of old growth remains protected for seabird

Cara J

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In a notice published on August 4, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service affirmed that previous critical habitat designations for the threatened marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) were warranted, despite controversy. This notice follows a lawsuit by the American Forest Resource Council in 2012, which claimed that FWS violated the Endangered Species Act by designating habitat areas which were unoccupied by the bird at the time of its listing. After the lawsuit was filed, the Obama administration agreed to withdraw the critical habitat designation – a decision widely opposed by conservation groups. In response, FWS requested and was granted the opportunity to revise the controversial designation. The existing habitat protections remained in place during the revision. In their most recent notice, FWS addressed concerns about areas of old growth forest that had been designated as critical habitat despite the current lack of use by marbled murrelets. Twenty-three areas within the critical habitat designation – totaling over 350,000 acres – did not have marbled murrelets present at the time of the bird’s listing. However, all of those areas contained elements deemed by FWS to be crucial for the birds’ recovery, particularly their preferred nesting areas – flat platforms located on large branches [...]


Read more: http://wildlife.org/3-7m-acres-of-old-growth-remains-protected-for-seabird/

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