The Pacific fisher now enjoys protected status across 2 million acres of Oregon forest. The US Fish and Wildlife Service spent months working to strike conservation agreements with the Oregon Department of Forestry and five lumber companies- Green Diamond, Hancock, Lone Rock, Roseburg and Weyerhaeuser.
The fisher is a small, carnivorous mammal from the mustelid, or weasel, family. Once common in the Northwest, trapping, habitat destruction, and rodenticides have reduced their numbers to the degree that they are under consideration for endangered status by the USFWS.
The participating companies agreed to give known fisher dens a quarter mile buffer and leave felled trees for them to use as habitats, as well as provide roughly $90,000 for research over the next three years. In return, they are afforded “incidental take,” which forgives accidental killings.
Paul Henson, State Supervisor for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, said to OPB “The biggest part of these agreements are the measures that these companies are agreeing to do on their property. To increase the retention of certain types of habitat on the property that they otherwise wouldn’t have to do under state forest practice regulations.”
OPB also had a comment from Mark Wall, Oregon Land and Timber Manager at Roseburg Forest Products Co. “We hope that the habitat that we’re leaving and starting to create for [fishers] will one day lead to them becoming something you’ll find on our property.”
The USFWS also signed a Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances with the Oregon Department of Forestry. The agreement covers 184,000 acres, including the Santiam, Gilchrist and Sun Pass state forests, as well as Board of Forestry land in Lane, Douglas, Coos and Josephine counties.
“Through their voluntary candidate conservation agreement,” Henson said to KTVZ, “ODF will protect den sites, contribute to research and monitoring, and consider the possibility of future releases on their lands to increase the fisher population. These voluntary efforts are essential to conserving our rare wildlife.”
By Brandon Urey