2 national parks may reintroduce fishers

The fisher, a member of the weasel family, had been considered extirpated from the state since the 1990s. The little carnivore has been affected by trapping, logging and development.

Starting in 2008, fishers were reintroduced to Olympic National Park. Now, Mount Rainier and North Cascades national parks are considering reintroducing them as well.

The public is asked to comment on the proposed plan. You can get more information and comment on the plan here.

Here is a press release from the North Cascades National Park:

North Cascades National Park Complex is seeking comments on a proposed plan to reintroduce the Pacific fisher to Mount Rainier and North Cascades national parks. The fisher is a member of the weasel family that occurs in low- to mid-elevation closed canopy forests with large trees and logs.

Considered extirpated (absent) from Washington since the mid-1990s, the Pacific fisher (Pekania pennanti) is the only native carnivore that is no longer found within the Cascade Range of Washington State. In 1998, the State formally listed the fisher as endangered, and in 2004, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the West Coast fisher as a federal candidate for listing as an endangered or threatened species.

To restore this species to its historical range in Washington, Mount Rainier and North Cascades national parks are proposing to team up with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to reintroduce this species to the North and South Cascades — the last two of the three major ecosystems statewide where successful fisher reintroduction is needed in order to meet Washington State’s recovery goals for this species. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Olympic National Park staff successfully reintroduced fishers at Olympic National Park from 2008-2010.

“It is very exciting to partner with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Mount Rainier National Park to reintroduce the fisher to this area,” said North Cascades National Park Complex Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich. “Reintroducing any species, much less one as wild as the fisher, is a complex and dynamic process and requires the collaboration of landowners and managers across the landscape to be successful.”

Public comments may be submitted between August 15 and September 30, 2013. During this time, comments may be submitted online at www.parkplanning.nps.gov/RestoreFisheror by regular mail to North Cascades National Park Complex, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284.

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