Your chance to comment on how Washington’s gray wolves should be managed once they are no longer state-listed and where they are managed under state authority is being extended two weeks, until Nov. 15. This gives people more time to submit input, especially those in rural areas without internet service.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is using a multi-year State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process to develop a post-recovery wolf management and conservation plan. The plan development includes an extensive public outreach component. The public can provide input through 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 15. After that, the next opportunity will be when WDFW drafts an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in late 2020 that evaluates actions, alternatives, and impacts related to long-term wolf conservation and management.
“The current plan the department uses to guide wolf conservation and management was started in 2007 and developed over five years specifically to inform wolf recovery. Because wolves are moving toward recovery in Washington, it is time to develop a new plan,” said Julia Smith, WDFW wolf coordinator. “This is just the start of the process, so if you don’t get your input to us by Nov. 15, there will be more opportunities in 2020.”
Since 2008, the state’s wolf population has grown an average of 28 percent per year. With a minimum of 126 individuals, 27 packs, and 15 successful breeding pairs during the last annual population survey, biologists are confident that Washington’s wolf population is on a path to successful recovery.
“Although it may be a few years before meeting wolf recovery goals, we want to proactively start the conversation about how we should conserve and manage wolves in Washington for the long-term in our state, post-recovery,” said Smith.
More information, background, and frequently asked questions on wolf post-recovery planning is on the WDFW website.
An online survey and online commenting are available on the WDFW website. There is also a comment form that can be printed and mailed to the Department or general comments can be sent through the U.S. Mail to Lisa Wood, SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, WDFW Habitat Program, Protection Division, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504. Comments submitted via mail must be postmarked by Nov. 15.