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U.S. Rep. Herrera Beutler is meddling in our state’s process to create a 50-year plan that will provide certainty for timber sales on state trust lands while protecting the marbled murrelet. This robin-sized seabird comes inland to lay its eggs on the wide, moss-covered branches of old-growth timber stands. Unfortunately, from Alaska to California, its numbers have fallen 75 percent in the last three decades. In our state, a 4-percent annual decrease in the population is mostly due to loss of breeding habitat. We have 1 percent of the old-growth forest that was here before white settlers arrived. Our state legislature created a task force to advise on the economic and environmental impacts of alternatives to the Long Term Conservation Strategy. But Herrera Beutler has introduced a House appropriations bill amendment that would limit funds to only the alternative favored by timber interests. She should respect our process! We can find a balance to protect the bird, fund the needs of rural counties, and preserve some of the little remaining old-growth forest for future generations.

Gloria Nichols


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