Following eight years of analysis and planning, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympic National Park, U.S. Geological Survey, Conservation Northwest and many other partners initiated the Olympic fisher reintroduction project in December of 2007. With the assistance of the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and the BC Trappers Association, a total of 90 fishers (50 females and 40 males) were captured in central British Columbia and translocated to Olympic National Park from January 2008 to February of 2010 (see maps of capture sites and release sites below). Pictures and videos of the releases can be seen in the photo and video gallery.
The fisher reintroduction was conducted through a partnership of agencies and organizations. Project management was provided jointly by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Olympic National Park. The U.S. Geological Survey, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Olympic National Park led a research and monitoring program to evaluate the success of the reintroduction. Many partners and cooperators provided financial or logistical support for management and research tasks. The project has been an adaptive undertaking. Information obtained through this research effort will indicate the level of success achieved during the reintroduction project and will allow managers to modify reintroduction methodology to increase the likelihood of success where and when fishers are reintroduced in Washington or elsewhere.
The partnership has been responsible for monitoring reintroduction success and conducting research into fisher biology and ecology on the Olympic Peninsula. To achieve this objective, project biologists equipped each fisher with a small radio transmitter before it was released in the Park. These transmitters allowed biologists to monitor fisher movements, survival, home range establishment and reproduction. This information was used to track the success of the fisher restoration project.
The field portion of the research and monitoring project associated with the reintroduction was completed in December of 2011, which was when the last of the radio-collars ran out of battery power. Biologists are currently analyzing data collected during to the project to evaluate its success and to determine how released fishers moved once they were released, how long they survived, where they established home ranges, which habitats they selected, and how successful they were at reproducing. The results of this work are expected by the summer of 2013. Monitoring and research information was provided on a regular basis during the field portion of the project (January 2008 to December 2011) and was summarized periodically in our project updates.
Planning efforts to evaluate the feasibility of restoring fishers to Washington began in 2002. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Conservation Northwest (CNW; known then as Northwestern Ecosystem Alliance) initiated a reintroduction feasibility assessment for fishers in Washington to evaluate whether sufficient habitat existed in the state to support a fisher population. WDFW and CNW completed the Feasibility Assessment for Reintroducing Fishers to Washington in 2004. That assessment indicated that the fisher could be successfully reintroduced to three areas in their historical range in Washington: the Olympic Peninsula, the southwestern Cascades and the northwestern Cascades.
Because the Olympic Peninsula was seen as the most suitable location for the first fisher reintroduction, WDFW and the National Park Service (Olympic National Park) entered into an agreement to jointly propose a fisher reintroduction project in Olympic National Park. The U.S. Forest Service (Olympic National Forest) was a cooperator for the project. WDFW, with input from the Park and funding from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, developed an Implementation Plan for Reintroducing Fishers into Olympic National Park. The National Park Service and WDFW evaluated the proposal for public review in the Olympic National Park Fisher Reintroduction Plan/Environmental Assessment, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. Details on the project implementation and long term research and monitoring plans can be found in those two documents.
for Project Management and Implementation
for Research and Monitoring