After four years of development and extensive public review, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will consider adoption of a plan to guide state conservation and management of gray wolves as they re-establish a breeding population in the state.
The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, is scheduled to take action on the department’s recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan on Saturday, Dec. 3, the second day of a public meeting beginning today in Olympia.
Key aspects of the wolf conservation and management plan recommended by WDFW would establish recovery objectives for gray wolves in Washington, along with strategies for addressing their interactions with livestock and wildlife species such as elk and deer.
WDFW began developing the plan in 2007 anticipating that gray wolves would naturally migrate to the state from Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and British Columbia. Since then, five wolf packs have been documented in the state – three in northeastern Washington and two in the north Cascades.
The gray wolf is currently listed as endangered throughout Washington under state law and as endangered in the western two-thirds of the state under federal law.
Since 2009, WDFW’s proposed plan has been the focus of 19 public meetings, written comments from nearly 65,000 people, a scientific peer review, and recommendations from the 17-member citizen Wolf Working Group, formed in 2007 to advise the department in developing the plan.
The commission also accepted public testimony at four workshops this fall, but will not hear additional public comments Dec. 3.