Written on . Posted in Wildlife.

Marbled Murrelet to be removed from ESA List

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; 12-Month Finding on a Petition To Remove the Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.
ACTION: Notice of 12-month petition finding.
SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or USFWS), announce a 12-month finding on a petition to remove the Washington/Oregon/California population of the marbled murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus) (murrelet) from the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List) pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Based on a thorough review of the best scientific and commercial data available, we find that the Washington/Oregon/California population of the murrelet is a valid distinct population segment (DPS) in accordance with the discreteness and significance criteria in our 1996 DPS policy. Furthermore, we find that this DPS continues to be subject to a broad range of threats, such as nesting habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, and predation. Although some threats, such as gillnet bycatch and lack of regulatory mechanisms, have been reduced since the murrelet's 1992 listing, the primary threats to the species' persistence continue. Furthermore, the species faces newly identified threats, such as abandoned fishing gear, harmful algal blooms, and observed changes in the quality of the bird's marine food supply. Population surveys conducted from 2000 through 2008 from San Francisco Bay to the Canadian border document a population decline during this period. Given our current understanding of the species' population size and trajectory, and in light of the scope and magnitude of existing threats, we conclude that the species continues to meet the definition of a threatened species under the ESA. Therefore, we have determined that removing the murrelet from the List is not warranted.

DATES: The finding announced in this document was made on January 21, 2010.

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