Tribes Race To Save Threatened Marbled Murrelet

SNOHOMISH COUNTY (July 10, 2001) — At precisely 4:37 a.m., the first rays of sun penetrate the gloaming on Wheeler Mountain, overlooking the north fork of the Stillaguamish River. A crew of tribal biologists is already in place, hoping to sight a threatened seabird.

For the next two hours, they will stare skyward in search of a robin-sized, football-shaped bird that can fly at speeds up to 90 miles per hour. With ears busy filtering out the hundreds of ambient forest sounds and eyes straining for dark birds entering a dark forest, biologists from the Stillaguamish Tribe and the Tulalip Tribes are painstakingly documenting every encounter with the unique and rare Marbled Murrelet.

These surveys, which conclude Aug. 2, are not only crucial to understanding the murrelet, but could have a significant impact on forest practices and salmon recovery in Washington. Washington