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USFWS finishes assessment of potential sea otter reintroduction to Pacific Northwest waters

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Kedar Gadge
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Sea otters in the Gulf of Alaska. While none are currently back at their historical habitat along the Oregon Coast, some people feel there otter be.

Sea otters could feasibly be reintroduced to areas they historically inhabited along the West Coast, including Oregon. But whether they should remains up in the air, according to an assessment by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The agency did its evaluation for Oregon and northern California as directed by Congress, but said further research and input from stakeholders are needed before any initiative takes place.

Sea otters frequented the north Pacific Rim for some time, but by 1911 they were nearly hunted to extinction. While their numbers have slowly rebounded, they remain absent from most parts of the contiguous Pacific coast.

A fish and wildlife supervisor says bringing back otters would help both them and the marine ecosystem, but added local shellfish fisheries could be affected.

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Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.