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Tue Jul 2 2013 (Updated 08/09/13) State Park Management Plan Threatens to Trash Tree-nesting Seabirds' Future
Lawsuit Filed to Protect Endangered Marbled Murrelet in Santa Cruz Mountains The Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit on June 19 against the California Department of Parks and Recreation for its failure to protect an endangered seabird, the Marbled Murrelet, under the new management plan for Big Basin Redwoods State Park in California’s Santa Cruz Mountains.

The suit, filed in California Superior Court in Santa Cruz county, challenges the department’s plans to expand visitation and visitor facilities in or near essential nesting habitat, which the department admits will cause significant harm to marbled murrelets. The seabirds already face a high risk of extinction in the Santa Cruz region, in part because human trash is unnaturally increasing populations of ravens and other nest predators that eat murrelet eggs and chicks.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park provides the largest remaining stand of old-growth nesting habitat for marbled murrelets in the Santa Cruz Mountains. In Big Basin, Murrelets have been declining. “Time’s running out for murrelets in the Santa Cruz Mountains,” said Shaye Wolf, a CBD biologist. “State Parks should have committed to helping these beautiful little birds survive — if this misguided plan goes forward, it will likely push them closer to extinction.”

Read More | See Also: Public Comment Period for Big Basin Preliminary General Plan/Draft EIR Ends August 1st (2012)

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