Fishers have been absent from the Cascade mountain range for more than 70 years. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is working with the National Park Service (NPS), Conservation Northwest (CNW), and other key partners to reestablish a self-sustaining population of fishers to the species’ historical range.
Beginning in November 2015, approximately 80 fishers from British Columbia will be released in the south Cascades on federal lands, including Mount Rainier National Park and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. WDFW and its partners later plan to release about 80 fishers in the North Cascades on federal lands including the North Cascades National Park Service Complex and the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. These fisher releases are outlined in the Cascade Fisher Reintroduction Implementation Plan.
WDFW and its partners previously worked together from 2008 to 2010 to release 90 fishers in Olympic National Park, where the species is now widely distributed and successfully reproducing.
Project partners also are collaborating with scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies and universities to conduct monitoring and research on released fishers.
Each fisher will be equipped with a radio-transmitter so its movements and survival status can be tracked. Monitoring and research efforts will begin as soon as the first fisher is released and will continue until the battery runs-out on the last functioning radio-transmitter (sometime in 2018). This data will be used to refine the reintroduction process in the future.
Although biologists will draw on lessons they learned from reintroducing fishers in Olympic National Park, they do not know if the fishers we release in the Cascades will respond the same way. The Cascade reintroduction project provides a valuable opportunity to learn a great deal about how fishers respond, adjust to and become established in a new environment, specifically to the Cascade mountain range.