Canis Lupus Returns to Washington State After 70 Years


Wolves are back in Washington State after a 70 year absence and the state is about to adopt a plan to manage them.

“Two wolf packs already live in Washington and monitoring shows they appear to be healthy new residents, said Luers. She said the Lookout Pack — the state’s first confirmed pack living southwest of Twisp — apparently has at least seven members, including a breeding pair, four pups from this year, and one more adult that could have been one of last year’s pups. The Diamond Pack in Pend Oreille County has an estimated five members, including the breeding pair and at least three offspring, Luers said.”

The state is in the final stages of adopting a wolf management plan. I’m holding my breath to see what plan they embrace but I’m not encouraged by the low numbers of breeding pairs allowed, 15, before the wolves can be be delisted.  Also the lethal management provisions, allow ranchers to kill wolves if their livestock is attacked.  Of course that can have different meanings to different people.  A wolf standing off in the distance might be considered an attack.  A wolf no where near livestock might be considered an attack.   It’s always, always about the livestock industry and their interests.

“Four alternatives, including no action, are explored. The state’s proposal is a middle-of-the-road plan compared with two other alternatives — one with a greater emphasis on protection, and one that allows more lethal control when wolves kill livestock or reduce deer and elk herds.”

All three alternatives call for 15 successful breeding pairs spread across the state before wolves can be de-listed in Washington. The state’s preferred plan would require two pairs in the Northern Cascades, two pairs in Eastern Washington, five pairs in the Southern Cascades or Northwest Coast and six more pairs anywhere in the state.”

The most pro-active wolf option is number three.  Lethal controls by ranchers would only be allowed when wolves are in “sensitive status”, which would be a long way down the road.  The state prefers option two, allowing ranchers to shoot wolves when they are  in “threatened status”.  Explanatons of all options are listed below in: “State wolf plan presents options to public.”

The state will hold hearings in October and November with public comments allowed until Jan 2010.

Photo: Wikemedia Commons

State picks moderate road to wolf recovery

By K.C. Hehaffey

Friday, October, 16, 2009


If you live in Washington state, stand up and be counted.  Let FWP know 15 breeding pairs is too low for wolf recovery and to re-think their lethal management proposals.  Such tight controls on wolves hamper their recovery, instead of fostering it.   Once again livestock protection is taking center stage in the “management” of wolves, as it has been for over a century.  Please speak up for wolves.

Even so I’m encouraged by the tone Washington FWP is setting with their management plan.   I have hopes the gray  wolf will have a long and successful stay in Washington.  

Here is a list of the public hearings from the National Parks Conservation Association:

Wolves historically roamed the national parks of Washington, including North Cascades, Mount Rainier, and Olympic National Parks. The absence of this important species has led to imbalance in the ecosystems of these parks. There is now, however, an opportunity to help the return of wolves to our national parks.

As you may be aware, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is in the process of finalizing a Wolf Conservation and Management Plan which will determine the ways wolves are managed as they naturally return to Washington from nearby states. The plan will be released on October 5. Starting on October 20 in Clarkston, 12 public hearings around the state will allow you the chance to comment on this plan and how it should be improved.

Listed below are the locations of all the public hearings. NPCA is working with a coalition of conservation groups to organize pre-hearing meetings at each location. If you are interested in attending a pre-hearing meeting with other conservationists before the public hearing to learn more about the plan, please contact the person listed below each meeting.”

All the hearings will be from 6:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The pre-hearing meetings will start at 5:30 p.m. at a location determined by the contact person.

Tuesday, October 20th – Clarkston
Walla Walla Community College; lecture hall, 1470 Bridge St.

Wednesday, October 21st – Richland
Pacific NW National Laboratory Auditorium, 904 Battelle Blvd.
Jessica Walz,, 503-221-2102 x101

Thursday, October 22nd – Yakima
Red Lion Hotel Yakima Center, 607 E. Yakima Ave.
David Graves,, 206-903-1444 x25

Monday, October 26th – Colville
N.E. WA Fairgrounds Ag-Trade Center, 317 West Astor Ave.
Derrick Knowles,

Tuesday, October 27th – Spokane
Spokane Valley Center Place, 2426 N Discovery Place
Crystal Gartner,, 509-747-1663
Sean Smith,, 206-903-1444 x21

Wednesday, October 28th – Vancouver
Water Resources Education Center, 4600 SE Columbia Way
Jessica Walz,, 503-221-2102 x101

Thursday, October 29th – Aberdeen
Rotary Log Pavilion, east of Aberdeen off Hwy 12
Linda Saunders,, 360-264-4695 x216

Monday, November 2nd – Seattle
REI Flagship Store, 222 Yale Ave N
David Graves,, 206-903-1444 x25

Wednesday, November 4th – Mount Vernon
Cottontree Inn Convention Center, 2300 Market St.
Bob Aegerter,, 350-671-2652
Jim Davis,, 360-715-3458

Thursday, November 5th – Sequim
Guy Cole Convention Center, Carrie Blake Park, 212 Blake Ave.
David Graves,, 206-903-1444 x25

Monday, November 9th – Omak
Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex, Hwy. 97 South
Jay Kehne,, 509-470-1767

Tuesday, November 10th – Wenatchee
Chelan County PUD Auditorium, 327 N Wenatchee Ave.
Jay Kehne,, 509-470-1767

Clink Link To Final Draft:


State wolf plan presents options to public

washington wolf
Date: 10-14-2009

By Joyce Campbell

Wolves have returned to Washington State after 70 years of extirpation and state wildlife managers are seeking public comments on their draft plan to manage and conserve the species.

The 300-page document released for comment on Oct. 5 is the work of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff, the state’s Working Wolf Group, a scientific peer review group and the public, said Madonna Luers, eastern Washington public information officer for the WDFW. The document includes a 96-page draft environmental impact statement with four alternatives. The bulk of the document, details the state’s preferred alternative.

Alternatives one, two and three are detailed in the draft EIS and have different standards for protection and restoration for wolves. Levels of lethal control strategy and compensation for losses to livestock owners also differ, according to the document summary.

Alternative four is a no-action alternative with no recovery requirements established. It would continue the current management, emphasizing protection and restoration with existing programs but without a plan. Wolves would remain endangered until a state recovery plan was completed.

The first three alternatives set recovery requirements at six successful pairs of breeding wolves before downlisting the animals to threatened.  The animals would be downlisted to sensitive when 12 pairs were successfully breeding. Delisting would occur at 15 pairs.

The first three alternatives differ in objectives for wolf distribution, use of management control options and level of compensation for depredation losses to livestock owners.

Alternative one would implement lethal control options at earlier listing statuses and sets a lower standard for geographic distribution of recovery objectives. State downlisting and delisting could occur with the majority of animals present in just one or two recovery regions. It would allow earlier implementation of management tools for addressing livestock conflicts and recommends less generous compensation for depredation.

Alternative two is the agency’s preferred alternative and “meets the goals and objectives for establishing a long-term viable wolf population and addresses wolf-livestock conflicts and interactions between wolves and ungulates. It includes a range of proactive, non-lethal control options for addressing livestock conflicts and recommends generous compensation in cases of confirmed and probable depredations,” according to the document.

Alternative three has the greatest emphasis on protection and restoration of wolves, with a higher standard for the geographic distribution of wolves. It is the most conservative on implementing management tools to address livestock conflicts and is the most generous with compensation to livestock owners.

Livestock owners would be allowed to kill wolves in the act of attacking livestock under all alternatives, but at different listed statuses. Alternative one would allow lethal take during all listed statuses, alternative two (preferred by the agency) would allow lethal take when wolves reach threatened status and alternative three would permit killing during the sensitive status.

Each alternative also has provisions for killing wolves in the act of attacking domestic dogs.
The draft plan includes alternative proactive measures to reduce livestock depredation, manage for healthy ungulate populations, manage wolf-ungulate conflict, and conduct outreach and education programs.

WDFW anticipated taking over gray wolf management from federal wildlife managers and initiated development of the draft plan for the endangered species in 2006. The agency started the plan based on the wolf conservation and management plan adopted by Oregon in 2005. Luers said that Washington was similar to Oregon in that it was not part of the federal wolf recovery efforts in the Rocky Mountain region.

In late 2006 the agency sought citizen advisors, volunteers with a stake in conservation, livestock, hunting and the economics of wolf management. The 17-member Working Wolf Group first met in the spring of 2007, and met eight more times, making suggestions “to keep this and not that” said Luers. A public scoping meeting in Twisp drew 31 attendees in August 2007.

The agency invited 150 wolf experts from near and far to review the draft plan and about 45 responded, said Luers. The scientific reviewers included David Meach, the most prominent author on wolf management in Minnesota; Doug Smith, project leader for the recovery of wolves in Yellowstone; Ed Bangs with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Montana; and Carter Niemeyer, the Idaho state wildlife manager who trapped and radio-collared the first confirmed breeding pair of wolves that dispersed from Canada to the Methow Valley in 2008.

A public meeting is scheduled from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 9 at the Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex in Omak. There are 12 public meetings across the state that will open with a 25-minute presentation by Harriet Allen, manager of the state’s threatened and endangered species programs. Allen will summarize the draft plan then open the meeting to hear from the public.

The public is invited to review the draft plan and draft EIS online at Written comments may be submitted online or mailed to WDFW SEPA Desk, 600 Capital Way N. Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

Copies of the plan are on their way to local libraries in Okanogan and Chelan counties, said Luers. If you prefer a printed copy of the DEIS or CD (supplies limited) contact the wildlife program at (360) 902-2515.

Categories posted in: wolf recovery, biodiversity

Tags: wolf dispersal, gray wolf recovery Washington

Published in: on October 17, 2009 at 3:27 am  Comments (6)  
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