State changes protections for bald eagles, marbled murrelet

Washington state has removed bald eagles and peregrine falcons from the state’s endangered species list while increasing protections for lynx and marbled murrelets.

State wildlife officials say bald eagles have made a steady recovery in Washington and nationally, following decades of decline due to widespread use of the pesticide DDT and habitat loss. Bald eagles were removed from the federal endangered species list in 2007.

The agency says peregrine falcons also have recovered and can now be found nesting throughout much of the state. Both birds would still be protected under other federal laws.

“This has been a long time coming,” said Penny Becker, diversity division manager for the state’s wildlife program. “Both of these species are success stories in Washington as well as in other states.”

At its meeting Friday, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission also classified as endangered the lynx and marbled murrelets, small seabirds that nest in old-growth trees, because of continued habitat loss.

The citizen panel sets policy for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.