Washington Commission Will Consider Adoption of Proposed Wolf-management Plan

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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 Washington state.

The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), is scheduled to take action on the department’s recommended Wolf Conservation and Management Plan on Dec. 3, the second day of a public meeting set for Dec. 2-3 in Olympia.

The meeting will convene at 8 a.m. both days in Room 172 of the Natural Resource Building at 1111 Washington St. on the Capitol Campus in Olympia. An agenda for the meeting is posted at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html on WDFW’s website.

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.

On Dec. 2, the first day of the meeting, the commission will consider proposals by WDFW to acquire land in Mason, Wahkiakum, Grant and Asotin counties to preserve critical habitat for fish and wildlife. The department is also proposing a timber-thinning project on the Scotch Creek and Sinlahekin wildlife areas.

In addition, WDFW will brief the commission on proposed new sportfishing rules for 2012-13, posted at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/. WDFW staff will also brief the commission on the department’s WDFW’s Fish Program, Enforcement Program and Private Lands Program.


Ca_Vermonster's picture

Well, this is good news. I am

Well, this is good news. I am glad to see that more states are going the way of wolf management versus wolf preservation. The only problem I see is that unlike Montana, Idaho, or some of those other western states, Washington is pushing into the liberal area. I know there are plenty of hunting supporters out there, but it seems that a majority of the voting public is now trending blue.

Not saying that the liberals do not hunt or support hunters, cause plenty of them do. However, if you are going to pick a place for the animal rights people to make a stand, this is a likely place.

Hopefully all goes well and Washington can add a couple of wolf hunts for some lucky hunters. I believe other states will show that there can be a good balance between hunting and conservation.

BikerRN's picture


Washington state appears to be taking what works from other states, or at least I hope they are, and coming up with a plan designed to keep the majority of both sides happy.

Wolves are a contentious issue and their doesn't appear to be much middle ground among certain factions. I have noticed that a lot of hunters seem to be the most "middle of the road" with my presence excluded from that group. 

I make no secret of my distain for wolves but I also recognize that you need two ends to make a middle. By having one end of the issue, and the "save the wolf" crowd at the other end, perhaps an amicable solution to the vexing issue can be reached that is palatable to all parties concerned.


Retired2hunt's picture

  With states like Montana


With states like Montana that have a successful plan and a great outline for a management program then states like Washington, Oregon, Arizona, etc... should have readily success in their plan efforts.  Management programs that have a sound plan for controlling the wolf populations are far more sound for the animal's future than simply allowing them to repopulate at will with absolutely no controls in place.  The outcome of the latter would be far worse and not in the interest for either the animal rights activist or the wildlife hunter.  Hats off to Washington to moving in this manner to further the proper management of their wolf population.


hunter25's picture

Good job to Washington state

Good job to Washington state as it sounds like they want to have a plan in place ahead of time. Better to plan it this way and be ready than have to go through what the other states with wolves did long after they needed to get them under control.