OLYMPIA -- Meetings will be held later this month to gather public comment on
a draft Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife proposal
to declare the fisher a state endangered species and to add the margined sculpin and the pygmy whitefish to
the state list of sensitive species.
Meetings on the recommended protection listings will be held in the following locations:
||Olympia Community Center, Room 101, 222 North Columbia
||Columbia County Fairgrounds, Youth Building
||Spokane County Regional Health District Auditorium, 1101 W. College St.
After public comments are taken state biologists will prepare final status reports
and State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) documents which will be available Sept. 1
for public review. Final recommendations will be presented to the Fish and Wildlife
Commission at its Oct. 2 and 3 meeting.
An endangered-species designation is recommended for the fisher, a forest-
dwelling member of the weasel family, because it has almost vanished in the state due
to past over-trapping and more recent habitat loss to development and logging.
The sensitive species listing recommendation for the margined sculpin and the
pygmy whitefish means that the species are vulnerable to decline. The sculpin, a small
fish found only in the Tucannon and Walla Walla drainages of the Blue Mountains, is
affected by water disturbances from development, logging, agriculture, grazing and
channelization. The pygmy whitefish has disappeared from six state lakes because of
declining water quality and past fish management practices including the introduction of
Although WDFW maintains a list of state sensitive, threatened and endangered
species and can work with landowners to encourage habitat protection, the department
does not have regulatory authority to control land use to protect species' habitat, with
the exception of bald eagle habitat.