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Siskiyou Mountain Range

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Pacific fisher (Pekania pennanti)  Photo courtesy of The Center for Biological Diversity

Happy New Year! 
If you are a person who makes New Year’s resolutions, please consider making a resolution for 2015 to push for the fisher to be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Unlike some other wild places, the Pacific fisher was never extirpated from the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. We may have lost grizzlies, wolves, wolverines, and condors, to name a few, but we are very lucky to live in a place that still has native genetic stock of fisher. Living at the base of the Siskiyou Crest it is not uncommon for me to see fishers as I explore the canyon where I live. Many other rural folks living in the Siskiyous have reported fisher sightings to me as well: Thompson Creek, Carberry Creek, Elliott Creek, Little Applegate River, Yale Creek, Greyback Mountain, Mt. Ashland. These little predators are elusive and it always feels special to catch a glimpse of one. Have you seen fishers in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains? 

Unfortunately there are many threats to the fisher that still place their population at risk. The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to list as threatened
the West Coast distinct population segment of fisher under the
Endangered Species Act (ESA). Public comments are now being accepted for this proposal and a decision will be made within a year. 

View the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s webpage regarding the proposed listing of fisher as a threatened species.  

Update: Service Announces 30-day Extension for Public Comments on West Coast Fisher Proposal

YREKA, Calif.– The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service (Service) is extending the public comment period on its proposal
to list the West Coast population of fisher as threatened under the
Endangered Species Act by 30 days. The new comment deadline will be
February 5, 2015.
The original comment period was open from Oct. 7 through
January 5, 2015. Specific guidance on types of information the Service
is seeking and for submitting public comments can be found in the
October 7, 2014 Federal Register notice at (search for key word “fisher”).

Comments and information can be submitted by one of the following methods: 

  • Electronically at In the
    Search box, enter FWS-R8-ES-201-0041. You may submit information by
    clicking on “Comment Now.” 
  • Paper copy, via the U.S. mail or hand delivery, to:
    Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R8-ES-2014-0041, Division of
    Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS:
    BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.

Historic and current range of the West Coast Distinct Population Segment (DPS) of fisher

The following is an excerpt from The Siskiyou Crest: Hikes, History & Ecology by Luke Ruediger.

“The Pacific fisher is a fairly small, but exceptionally fierce carnivorous mammal of the deep forest. Once abundant, it has suffered greatly due to habitat loss in the ancient forests it calls home. The fisher inhabits intact forests, especially along riparian areas at low-to mid-elevations throughout the state, yet it is found from the canyon bottoms to the high crest in the Siskiyou Mountains. Virtually extinct in Oregon not long ago, small remnant
populations of fisher managed to survive in the wilds of the Siskiyous, which
represents the only native population in the state. Populations in the Cascade
Mountains and Coast Range have been estimated to be as low as 50 individuals
and are the result of reintroductions from B.C. and Minnesota (Drew 1351-1362).
There are relatively healthy populations of Pacific fisher, especially in the forested
upper portions of the Applegate and Illinois watersheds. In California, native
populations exist only in the adjacent Klamath Mountains of Northern California and the Sierra Nevada. Population estimates in northwestern California and
southwestern Oregon are thought to be between 1,000 and 2,000 individuals
(USFS – Ashland Forest Resiliency FEIS, F-29).

            Fishers are elusive; it is easier to get a photo with a game camera, as seen here.                   (Photo: USFWS
The Pacific fisher appears to require overhead cover and shows a tendency
to hunt in thickets, among windthrow and downed woody debris. The fisher’s
diverse diet consists of squirrels, rabbits, mice, voles, owls, woodpeckers, porcupine, songbirds, and carrion. Preferred denning sites are strongly associated
with hollow snags and downed wood in mature forest, as well as the large, hollow
boles of hardwood species throughout the mixed conifer forests of the Klamath-Siskiyou (USFS, UAR-EA, III-85-86). The home range of the Pacific fisher can
vary between one to four and a half square miles.

If this species is to persist in the mountains of the West, its ancient forest
habitat must be protected. The Siskiyous’ remaining roadless areas would offer
prime habitat if they were placed off-limits to resource extraction, thus ensuring
the survival of Oregon’s only native population of Pacific fisher.

Click on the link below to read the Center for Biological Diversity’s history of environmental organizations’ efforts to get the fisher listed on the Endangered Species List.

Please write a comment in favor of listing the fisher as a threatened species!
Photo: USFWS