The U.S. Navy has requested - and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has agreed - to re-initiate formal consultation on the potential effects on marbled murrelets from Growler airfield operations at NAS Whidbey Island.
The Navy requested re-initiation of formal consultation to clarify the way impacts to the marbled murrelets are accounted for in the monitoring and annual reporting requirements, and to allow for refinement of the analysis associated with the Navy's selected alternative for Growler operations.
Using the best available science, the USFWS determined in a Biological Opinion that Growler airfield operations are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the marbled murrelet and issued an Incidental Take Statement (ITS). The USFWS affirms that the existing Biological Opinion and ITS will remain in place during the renewed consultation.
During the re-initiated consultation period, the Navy's Growler flight operations will not exceed levels in the ITS. The USFWS is working now to provide a Biological Opinion on or about January 3, 2020.