FWS proposes revisions to marbled murrelet critical habitat
73 Fed. Reg. 44678 (Thursday, July 31, 2008)(DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR; Fish and Wildlife Service; 50 CFR Part 17; Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Critical Habitat for the Marbled Murrelet; Proposed rule).
Marbled murrelets spend most of their lives in the marine environment where they forage in nearshore areas and consume a diversity of prey species, including small fish and invertebrates. In their terrestrial environment, the presence of platforms (large branches or deformities) used for nesting is the most important characteristic of their nesting habitat. Marbled murrelet habitat use during the breeding season is positively associated with the presence and abundance of mature and old-growth forests, large core areas of old-growth, low amounts of edge habitat, reduced habitat fragmentation, proximity to the marine environment, and forests that are increasing in stand age and height. The photo from the University of Victoria, by Kevin Jordan, shows the white ring of feces produced by the chick during its 30-40 day nestling period.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), propose to revise designated critical habitat for marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus marmoratus) under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). On May 24, 1996, we designated 3,887,800 ac (ac) (1,573,340 hectares (ha)) as critical habitat for the marbled murrelet in Washington, Oregon, and California. We are proposing to revise currently designated critical habitat for the marbled murrelet by removing approximately 254,070 ac (102,820 ha) in northern California and Oregon from the 1996 designation, based on new information indicating that these areas do not meet the definition of critical habitat. This action, if adopted in its entirety, would result in a revised designation of approximately 3,633,800 ac (1,470,550 ha) as critical habitat for the marbled murrelet. In this rule, we are further proposing, under the Act, a taxonomic revision of the scientific name of the marbled murrelet from Brachyramphus marmoratus marmoratus to Brachyramphus marmoratus.)
KEITHINKING: According to the Federal Register notice, the areas previously designated as critical habitat proposed for removal include lands in California and Oregon where “extensive surveys… demonstrated murrelets are very unlikely to be found using the area."