Fisher report influenced by timber industry
UC Berkeley wildlife ecology professor Reginald Barrett will present a 15-page letter to the California Fish and Game Commission at their meeting in Monterey tomorrow explaining that a new Department of Fish and Game report about the Pacific fisher misrepresents his input.
The Pacific fisher is a small, nocturnal carnivore that typically perches all day high in large, old-growth pine and oak trees. Related to the mink, otter and marten, fishers historically ranged throughout the mountainous West, from the southern Sierra into Canada. However, only two isolated populations remain today, one in the Sierra Nevada and one near the California-Oregon border.
The Department of Fish and Game submitted its Status Review of the Pacific Fisher in California to the Fish and Game Commission in February. The report concludes the fisher does not warrant protection under the California Endangered Species Act.
In his letter to the Commission, Barrett said he reviewed and commented on a DFG draft report that "is so different in content and tenor from the final (report) that I recommend you request a re-analysis by the panel of reviewers, as would normally be done when a manuscript is substantially modified."Barrett's letter was the basis of a Sacramento Bee story last week that said the new status report was altered by state officials to favor the logging industry.
In 2008, the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the Fish and Game Commission to list the Pacific fisher under the Endangered Species Act. After at first declining, the commission asked the Department of Fish and Game to prepare the report based on biological information, Barrett said.
"It is evident that more emphasis was placed on timber industry input via personal communications and unpublished industry reports than the scientific literature," Barrett wrote. "What I am concerned about is the fact that the Commission is being given a recommendation by DFG that has apparently gone beyond the expected biological, scientific information to include political and economic considerations."
Consideration of the DFG report is the third item on the commissioners' April 7 agenda. The meeting begins at 10 a.m. at the Best Western Beach Resort, 2600 Sand Dunes Drive, Monterey.
A Pacific fisher clings to a tree trunk in the Sierra Nevada.