Commission Hears Public Testimony on Draft Wolf Plan

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The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Thursday heard testimony from nearly 50 people advocating both support for and opposition to the draft Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan that is open for public comment.

Thursday’s hearing was the second of three scheduled. One additional public hearing will occur Feb. 10, 2005, in Troutdale. The Commission is expected to make a decision on the draft wolf plan Feb. 11, 2005, also in Troutdale. The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member panel meets monthly.

In addition to hearing public testimony, the Commission received a brief overview of the public comments received so far on the draft plan. Of the more than 800 letters of testimony received through Dec. 20, 2004, 39 percent support the draft plan, 9 percent do not support the draft plan, 27 percent provide general comments about wolves, and 25 percent recommend changes to the draft plan. Within the letters placed in the “recommend changes” category, more than 120 different suggestions were given.

As a result of the public testimony and Commissioners’ review of the draft plan, the Commission directed ODFW staff to draft potential amendments to the plan for review at the Feb. 11, 2005 , Commission meeting.

The official public comment period for rulemaking lasts through close of business Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005 . People wishing to comment on the draft plan and draft rules may submit written comments by mail, e-mail or fax, and may testify at the February public hearing. Although all comments will be considered, the Commission has encouraged anyone with written comments to submit them before Feb. 4, 2005 , to allow Commission members the maximum amount of time to analyze the comments before voting on the plan.

The draft plan, minority reports, draft administrative rules and other information can be found on ODFW’s Web site at Copies also may be obtained by request at any ODFW region or district office.

Written public comments on the draft plan are accepted at the following locations:

* E-mail:;
* Fax: 503-947-6009; and
The next public hearing will occur 1-5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 10, 2005, at the Sam Cox Annex Building, 1106 E. Columbia River Highway in Troutdale. The Commission meeting will be held at the same location Friday, Feb. 11, 2005, starting at 8 a.m.

The draft wolf plan does not call for actively reintroducing wolves from other states or provinces, but for managing wolves that naturally disperse into Oregon . No wolves are confirmed to be in Oregon at this time, but biologists expect wolves to establish a permanent Oregon population as the Idaho wolf population grows and disperses. Wolves currently are protected under both the state and federal endangered species acts.