Marten

American Marten

North Dakota Species of Conservation Priority II
Fact Sheet
Scientific Name Martes Americana
General Description Member of the weasel family, characterized by long slender body with a bushy tail. Similar in size to the mink. Tail roughly a third of the total length. Fur is a range of reddish to brown with a buffy to pale orange patch on the throat and chest.
Status Year-round resident.
Abundance Uncommon within its range in North Dakota.
Primary Habitat Conifer and mixed forests with dense canopy cover.
Federal Status Furbearer with a closed season.
Reason for Designation Species with a unique habitat type found only in a small portion of the state.

Locations and Conditions of Key Habitat

Preferred Habitat

Found in conifer and mixed forests with a high canopy cover. Also the presence of structure along the ground in form of downed trees and stumps are preferred.

Key Areas and Conditions for American Marten in North Dakota

Small population found in the Turtle Mountains region of Rolette and Bottineau counties.

Problems Which May Affect this Species

Habitat

Loss and degradation of mix deciduous forest in the Turtle Mountains region of North Dakota.

Other Natural or Manmade Factors

Population encroachment by fisher maybe a future concern.

Research and Survey Efforts

Current Research or Surveys

  • There are no current research projects or survey efforts for American Marten underway.

Previous Research or Surveys

  • Frostburg State University conducted survey efforts for River Otter and other meso-carnivores from 2006-2009 where the initial discovery of a marten population was made.
  • The marten populations was studied as part of a master’s thesis by Penn St. University.

Additional Research or Surveys Needed

Continued monitoring of the population.

Management Recommendations

  • Maintain American Marten as a furbearer with a closed season until it is determined by NDGFD biologists that the population can sustain harvest.
  • Protect suitable habitat with land easement and acquisition where feasible.
  • Work with the North Dakota Forest Service and private landowners to use to implement marten friendly guidelines for land management activities.
  • Protect riparian corridors for movement and dispersal of populations.
  • Avoid clear cutting forested areas.
  • Preserve large diameter trees used for denning and resting sites.
  • Preserve a woody understory component for denning and resting sites.

Monitoring Plans

The NDGFD uses a sighting reporting system to monitor trends of American Marten. If a more detailed survey is needed the NDGFD could repeat techniques produced in Evaluating the Distribution and Abundance of River Otters and Other Meso-carnivores in Eastern North Dakota Drainage: Applications of GIS, Genetic and Digital Technologies for Conservation Planning.

2005-2015 Progress

The American Marten was added to the Species of Conservation Priority list in the 2015 Update of the Wildlife Action Plan. The population was discovered as part of SWG T-12-R Evaluating the Distribution and Abundance of River Otters and Other Meso-carnivores in Eastern North Dakota Drainage: Applications of GIS, Genetic and Digital Technologies for Conservation Planning. Continued funding through that grant developed information on distribution and habitat use.

Range Map

Note: A listing of works consulted when compiling the information on this page may be found in the 2015 State Wildlife Action Plan.