Washington draft state wolf plan revised; review process planned

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has
revised a draft plan for state wolf recovery and management, and
will conduct more public review later this year.

The draft state Wolf Conservation and Management Plan was
revised after scientific peer review and an earlier public input
process, which concluded last year.

The revised draft plan is available on the WDFW website at
http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/. The
website also contains information on the wolf plan development
process, including past public input and scientific peer review.
The public-comment process included 19 public meetings, three
surveys and a comment period that drew nearly 65,000 responses.

The plan is intended to guide state wolf management while wolves
naturally disperse and re-establish a sustainable breeding
population in the state. The plan contains recovery objectives that
would allow the state to eventually remove wolves from protection
lists, as well as management strategies to address wolf-livestock
conflicts.

The revised draft plan affirms 15 successful wolf breeding pairs
as the goal for statewide wolf recovery. Among the revisions are
proposals regarding lethal control of wolves observed attacking
livestock and dogs, and WDFW management options if wolf predation
limits at-risk populations of elk, deer or other ungulates.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission-the citizen panel
that guides WDFW policy- will be briefed on the draft plan and
review process during its June 4 meeting at the Natural Resource
Building in Olympia.

The 17-member citizen Wolf Working Group, which helped draft the
plan, will meet June 8-9 to review the proposed revisions. The
meeting will be held at the Heritage Center of the Kittitas Valley
Event Center, 512 N. Poplar St., in Ellensburg, and will run from
10 a.m. to 5 p.m., June 8, and from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., June 9. As
with past meetings of the advisory group, the working group’s
meeting is open to the public but it is not a public-comment
opportunity.

WDFW will consider guidance from the working group and may
release further draft plan revisions, with an updated environmental
impact statement, before the Fish and Wildlife Commission takes
public comments on the draft plan during its Aug. 4-6 meeting in
Olympia.

Two commission workshops on the draft wolf plan are scheduled in
eastern and western Washington in September and October. Those
workshops will be open to the public. The commission is scheduled
to consider adoption of the plan during its Dec. 2-3 meeting in
Olympia.

 

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