Game Commission Approves Wolf Memorandum

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The State Game Commission agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, or – The State Game Commission agreed to sign a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, to actively participate with the various cooperators in the reintroduction and recovery of the Mexican gray wolf in the Southwest.

The Commission made the decision at its April 7 meeting in Silver City. Department biologists and three commissioners presented an update of wolf-related managementactions since 1998 at a public meeting April 6 in Silver City. About 70 people presented comments, with a seven-to-one margin supporting the Commission’s participation in the wolf memorandum.

The Commission instructed Department staff to work cooperatively with other agencies, tribes and the public on the following considerations: Modifying the population rule to expand wolf release boundaries; reviewing the Paquet Recovery Assessment – an independent interim assessment of wolf recovery; and considering direct wolf releases in appropriate areas of New Mexico. The Department was instructed to present a progress report to the Commission by December 2004. Signatories to the MOU include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service, the Arizona Game and Fish Department, White Mountain Apache Tribe, New Mexico Department of Agriculture and several counties in Arizona and New Mexico.

The Commission also approved support for Gov. Richardson’s executive direction to protect the plants and wildlife in the Otero Mesa region. The Commission revised its rate schedule for commercial activities on Commission-owned properties, including oil and gas development, utility easements and communication towers.

The big game, small game and waterfowl hunting regulations were offi cially opened for public comment and development. Final regulations for small game and waterfowl will be approved at the June 9-10 meeting in Albuqerque. The Commission also directed the Department to begin the biennial review process for the status of threatened and endangered species.