Conservation groups sue Oregon to help marbled murrelet

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Conservation groups have sued the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission for failing to strengthen protection for the marbled murrelet.

The groups petitioned the commission in 2016 to change the bird’s status from threatened to endangered under the state Endangered Species Act. The commission denied the petition in June, reversing course from an earlier position.

The marbled murrelet was listed as threatened by the state and federally in the 1990s, and habitat protection has meant less logging. The tiny seabirds venture inland to raise their young and depend on old-growth forests for nesting.

Conservation groups say the listing as threatened hasn’t really helped the bird. A listing as endangered would require the state to develop a management plan and survival guidelines.

The lawsuit was filed in Eugene.