Tufted puffins receive endangered status in Washington State

Update May 2015

At their April 2015 meeting, the Fish and Wildlife Commission voted unanimously to approve listing the tufted puffin as endangered in Washington State. The listing became official in mid-May.

Thanks to the Fish and Wildlife Commission for taking this important step!

Read the scientific status report that made this listing possible. (PDF)

Update February 2015

In early February, the Fish and Wildlife Commission heard public comments on listing the tufted puffin as endangered.

The Commission will make a decision at their April 9-10 meeting in Olympia. Public comments will be accepted until April 8.

To make your voice heard, send a short comment by email to commission@dfw.wa.gov before April 8.

Read the updated status report (with public comments attached)

Once again we want to say thank you to the generous donors who made it possible for SeaDoc to fund the crucial Status Review that set this process in motion.

It's been a long time coming, but Washington State is in the final stage of deciding whether or not to list the Tufted puffin as a state endangered species.

Tufted puffins used to breed at 43 different nesting colonies in Washington State. Now they are found at only 19, and the state's population is 1/10th of what it was in 1984.

Tufted puffins have been candidates for listing in Washington State since 1998. But you can't move from candidate to listed species without a formal scientific status review. Since the Department of Fish and Wildlife didn't have the resources to write the status review, nothing happened for a long time.

Then SeaDoc stepped in. We knew it was important to get the status review written so that the State could eventually create a recovery plan for puffins. So in 2010 we raised money from private individuals, with gifts ranging from $100 to $23,000. (Crowdfunding before crowdfunding was cool.)

With that money we hired scientist Thor Hanson (familiar to many of you as the author of the award-winning book, Feathers) to draft the status review. Since completion several years ago the report has undergone further editing and refinement by WDFW scientist Gary Wiles, and has been externally reviewed by scientists.

While you're reading the Tufted puffin status review, note that WDFW is also taking comments on another species, Steller sea lions. But this time the proposal is to take them OFF the threatened species list because they've made a strong recovery. Get the full story here.

Want to learn more about threatened and endangered species in the Salish Sea? Every two years SeaDoc tallies all the species in the Salish Sea that are threatened, endangered, or are candidates for listing by Canada, British Columbia, the USA, or Washington State. See the most recent list here through the button below.