Local Current Issues

Precipitous Decline of Marbled Murrelet in Washington – How You Can Help

The Marbled Murrelet is a robin-sized bird that was listed as threatened in 1992 under the Endangered Species Act. This bird spends most of its life on near-shore waters from northern California to Alaska. It flies inland to breed high in the canopy of old-growth forest within sixty miles of shore.

The NW Forest Plan was created in 1993 to protect breeding habitat for Marbled Murrelet and Northern Spotted Owl. Without this plan there would now be no old-growth forest on state or federal lands; however, private landowners can cut any timber.

This August shocking news was published on the status of Marbled Murrelet after 20 years of the NW Forest Plan. The science report said:

  • In Washington State the Plan has not been successful--the population of Marbled Murrelet has declined 48% since 2001.
  • This decline in numbers is tied to decline in breeding habitat, mostly due to timber harvest of habitat on nonfederal lands. Marine conditions were not an important factor.
  • The decrease in both habitat and numbers is the largest in SW Washington, where there is little federal forested land. To read the full report, go to “MAMU GTR” at the bottom of http://www.reo.gov/monitoring/reports/20yr-report/

At current rates of decline there will be no Marbled Murrelet in SW Washington within 15 years!   If the SW Washington population disappears, the northern population of birds in Washington, Canada and Alaska will be genetically isolated from the southern population in Oregon and California. This genetic bottleneck could quickly lead to species extinction. The situation for Marbled Murrelets is critical.

BUT YOU CAN HELP THIS OCTOBER! To find out how, click the read more below.

Read more: Precipitous Decline of Marbled Murrelet in Washington – How You Can Help

Columbia Riverkeeper's new Handford video

This August marks the 70th anniversary of the devastating bombings in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, during World War II. Hanford produced the plutonium for “Fat Man,” the nuclear bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan. Watch Columbia Riverkeeper's newest short film, Hanford: A Race Against Time” showing how Hanford’s nuclear legacy poses an ever-present threat to the Columbia River and river communities.

Columbia Riverkeepers are also collecting signatures for a petition to President Obama about Hanford cleanup. Go here for more information.

Proposed Propane Development Faces a Setback In Longview

This morning, 3/10/15, the Port Commissioners of Longview voted to not renew the lease to Havens Energy to build a propane export facility at Berth 4 in Longview. We applaud their decision and we know it was not an easy choice for them to make. The process for the final vote has been in the works for months with meetings and testimony from industry and the community. In fact, the commissioners listened to testimony from both sides this morning at their meeting. The resulting vote was a victory for all the hard work and efforts of the members of ILWU Local 21, LCSC, CRK, and WHAS members. It is very monumental when labor and everyday citizens can raise concerns regarding safety, economic, environmental, transportation, & siting problems with a project and when our elected officials listen to them seriously.

WHAS opposes Fossil Fuel Export Facilities

A Resolution to Oppose Fossil Fuel Export Facilities
In Washington and Oregon

Willapa Hills Audubon Society
Passed by Vote of the Board of Directors, June 11, 2014

Whereas: Fossil Fuel Export facilities are proposed at many NW locations including Whatcom County, Grays Harbor County, Coos Bay, at several locations along the Columbia River, and new proposals appear with increasing frequency; and,

Whereas: The increased burning of fossil fuels will lead to increased levels of greenhouse gas in the global environment, pollution, and dangerous climate change; and,

Whereas: The extraction of most newly exportable fossil fuels is most often environmentally unsound, such as mountain-top removal in search of coal, strip coal mining, the fracking process in search of oil and gas, or of poor quality, such as the tar sands oil of Canada; and,

Whereas: The transport of fossil fuels, particularly by rail, is most often dangerous and/or dirty and disruptive, and requires large scale facilities in wetlands and next to ecologically sensitive waterways; and, Whereas: Conservation of United States' fossil fuel resources is a national security and energy independence issue, worthy of detailed debate; and,

Whereas: Conservation of energy in the US is becoming increasingly important; and,

Whereas: Willapa Hills Audubon already opposes several proposed LNG ports along the lower Columbia River, and the proposed coal export facility at Longview, and oil export at Clatskanie; now, then,

Be it Hereby Resolved: Willapa Hills Audubon opposes all export of fossil fuels from NW American ports, (with the possible exception of derivatives of natural gas, which will be determined on a case by case basis), and that this resolution will stand until changed or amended in future.

This resolution is available as a pdf here.


Upcoming Events

Aug 14;
WHAS Annual Picnic
Sep 10-11;
Puget Sound Bird Fest
Sep 23-25;
Wings over Willapa Festival
Oct 08;
Board Meeting