News Release

January 12, 2012

Service to Consider Endangered Species Act Protections for the Humboldt Marten

Media Contacts:
Janet Lebson, OFWO, (503) 2316954

60-Day Public Comment Period Closes March 12, 2012


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that it is considering the Humboldt marten (Martes americana humboldtensis) for protection under the Endangered Species Act (Act).

The Service has completed a 90-day review of a petition by two environmental groups to list the Humboldt marten as endangered or threatened in coastal northern California and in coastal central and southern Oregon and determined that the petitioners presented substantial scientific information indicating that listing the Humboldt marten may be warranted. The Service will now conduct a comprehensive status review to determine whether listing the Humboldt marten under the Act is warranted.

The finding is published in today's Federal Register, and opens a 60-day public comment period. Comments will be accepted until March 12, 2012. To ensure the status review is comprehensive, the Service is seeking information from all interested parties regarding the Humboldt marten and its habitat.

You may submit information regarding the Humboldt marten by one of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Enter Keyword or ID box, enter Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2011-0105, then click on the search button. You may submit a comment by clicking on "Send a Comment or Submission."

U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: Docket No. FWS-R8-ES-2011-0105; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.

We will post all information we receive on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal identifying information you provide us.

The Humboldt marten, a medium-sized forest carnivore in the weasel family, is a subspecies of the American marten that historically occupied coastal northern California from the Oregon border south to Sonoma County. By 1995, the subspecies was considered extremely rare or extinct in California. However, in 1996, a marten was photographed at a camera station near the northern edge of its range on the Six Rivers National Forest in Del Norte County, California. The photograph represented the first verified detection of a marten within the historical range of the subspecies in nearly 50 years. Subsequent range-wide surveys detected martens in a single, small area near the location where a marten was detected in 1996. The area comprises about 5 percent of the subspecies historical range in California.

Recent genetic analyses suggest that martens occurring in two isolated populations in coastal central and southern Oregon may belong to the Humboldt marten subspecies. Further genetic testing is in progress to clarify the phylogenetic relationship between coastal northern California and coastal Oregon marten populations. During our status review, we will conduct a thorough analysis of all information relevant to the taxonomic status of Humboldt martens in coastal California and coastal Oregon.

The single Humboldt marten population in California likely consists of fewer than 100 individuals. The two coastal Oregon populations are also small. All three marten populations are isolated from one another and believed to be in decline.

The Endangered Species Act provides a critical safety net for America's native fish, wildlife and plants. This landmark conservation law has prevented the extinction of hundreds of imperiled species across the nation and promoted the recovery of many others.

Our priority is to make implementation of the Act less complex, less contentious and more effective. We seek to accelerate recovery of threatened and endangered species across the nation, while making it easier for people to coexist with these species.