Coastal Marten Receives Endangered Species Act Protection

For more information on Oregon’s population of coastal martens, please see the story, Coastal Marten’s Plight.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has determined that the coastal distinct population segment of the Pacific marten, known as the coastal marten, warrants listing as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

This secretive, cat-sized mammal in the weasel family lives in coastal Oregon and northern coastal California. According to the USFWS, the marten requires mature, structurally complex forest stands with a dense understory. These mammals have lost over 90 percent of their historical range and currently exist in four small and isolated populations.

The USFWS evaluated the threats to coastal marten populations including impacts from habitat loss, catastrophic wildfire, changing climate, vegetation management, exposure to toxins, predation, trapping, vehicle mortality, and potential effects associated with small and isolated populations. After evaluating the latest scientific and commercial data, the Service concluded that the impact of these threats warrants listing the population as threatened.

“Using all the tools of the ESA, we can protect a species without unduly burdening private landowners and the 4(d) rule accompanying this listing is a perfect example,” said Paul Henson, Oregon State Supervisor for the Service. “By allowing flexibilities for certain routine forest management activities that benefit coastal marten populations, this strengthens our public-private partnership in Oregon and California around many forest species. We look forward to further engaging with these private landowners on strategic collaboration to conserve the coastal marten and to keep working forests working.”

USFWS staff in Oregon have been working directly with federal, state, and private forest land managers in Oregon over the past 18 months to develop conservation strategies to reduce threats to the coastal marten. These partners are actively working to implement priority conservation actions in an effort to recover the coastal marten. High priority conservation actions include using assisted dispersal to establish new marten populations, protecting important movement corridors and other high value habitat, and conducting research and monitoring to enhance conservation efforts.

The final rule listing for the coastal marten will go into effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The rule, comments and supporting documentation will be available at under Docket No. FWS–R8–ES–2018–0076, or online at Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office.

Press release and photo courtesy the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service