Sea otters could be reintroduced to the Oregon Coast.

The Center for Biological Diversity wants the federal government to get moving on a plan to reintroduce sea otters on the Oregon Coast.

The national environmental group submitted a petition on Thursday, under the Endangered Species Act, to reintroduce the fuzzy marine mammals to their native habitat from the San Francisco Bay through Oregon.

The idea of returning otters to the coast has picked up momentum following a study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that said reintroduction was “feasible” and “would benefit the nearshore marine ecosystem and have an overall socioeconomic benefit to coastal communities.”

But the Fish and Wildlife Service has stopped short of recommending reintroduction and told the Statesman Journal any action on getting otters in the water was still “4 to 5 years off at best.”

The Center for Biological Diversity wants to speed things along.

“Bringing the sea otter back to the broader West Coast would be an unparalleled conservation success story,” said Kristin Carden, a senior scientist at the center. “Not only would the sea otters thrive, but they would also help restore vital kelp forest and seagrass ecosystems.”

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