Wolf management plan review focus of special commission meeting Stevens County home to newest wolf pack in state
The state Fish and Wildlife Commission will discuss a proposed wolf management plan during a special meeting Thursday.
The review of the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan prepared by Department of Fish and Wildlife staffers comes after last week’s announcement that a fifth wolf pack has been found in the state.
The plan outlines recovery objectives that would allow the state to eventually remove wolves from protection lists, along with strategies to deal with wolf-livestock and wolf-ungulate conflicts. Wolves are currently on the state’s endangered species list and wolves in Western Washington are on the federal endangered species list.
During Thursday’s meeting, the commission will receive a briefing and take public comment on the plan.
The plan can be found online at wdfw.wa.gov/ conservation/gray_wolf/. The website also contains information on the wolf plan development process, including past public input and the scientific peer review.
The commission has scheduled three more special meetings to discuss the plan and take public comment. Those meetings are tentatively scheduled for Aug. 29 in Ellensburg and Oct. 6 and Nov. 3 in Olympia. The commission is scheduled to take action on the plan during its Dec. 2-3 meeting in Olympia.
The commission will hold its regular meeting on Friday and Saturday.
Among the items on the agenda are setting the 2011-12 migratory waterfowl hunting seasons and changes to cougar hunting regulations.
With waterfowl numbers on par with last year, based on spring habitat assessments, the department has proposed hunting seasons would be similar to last year.
Also at that meeting, the commission is scheduled to take action on proposed changes to cougar hunting regulations in six counties in Eastern Washington.
Because a pilot project authorizing cougar hunting with the aid of dogs was not extended by the Legislature this year, the department is recommending an increase in cougar hunting opportunities without the aid of dogs. That would be done in Klickitat, Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties to continue to meet management objectives in those areas.
When: Thursday’s meeting will begin at 10 a.m. The regular meeting begins at 8:30 a.m. both days.
Where: All sessions will be held in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., Olympia.
Information: Agendas for both meetings are available at wdfw.wa.gov/ commission/meetings.html. The state’s fifth gray wolf pack has been confirmed in northeast Stevens County.
Earlier this month, state Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists caught, marked with an ear tag and released a 2-month-old wolf pup from the pack. Biologists have since been trying to capture one of the pack’s breeding adult wolves to radio-collar it for monitoring. The effort to document the pack began after local ranchers reported observing three wolf pups and hearing howling in late June.
Other packs have been confirmed in Okanogan, Chelan, Pend Oreille and Kittitas counties.