West Virginia Seeks Comments on Elk Management Plan

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The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) has made the Draft West Virginia Elk Management Plan available for public review and comment. A copy of the draft plan can be found on the WVDNR's website.

The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources (WVDNR) has made the Draft West Virginia Elk Management Plan available for public review and comment. A copy of the draft plan can be found on the WVDNR's website at the following address: www.wvdnr.gov/Publications/Draft_Elk_Plan.pdf. Written comments from the public are encouraged and will be received by the WVDNR, Wildlife Resources Section, through Oct. 31, 2010.

The need for the development of an Elk Management Plan in West Virginia has been elevated in recent years as a result of Kentucky’s active elk restoration program, which was initiated in 1997. Kentucky’s elk management area encompasses 16 counties and borders the counties of Mingo and Wayne in West Virginia. During the past few years, the WVDNR has received occasional elk sightings in several counties within the southern region of West Virginia.

"The WVDNR is proposing to establish an ElkManagement Area that will encompass seven counties, or portions thereof, in the Southern Coal Fields region of the state," according to Curtis I. Taylor, Chief of the WVDNR Wildlife Resources Section. "The Elk Management Plan allows for an elk population to become established within this designated area using a passive management approach. The draft plan also provides guidelines for future management actions relating to this species."

Feasibility studies evaluating habitat quality and sociological issues relating to the potential for elk reintroduction in West Virginia were completed in 2005. These studies, funded by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, identified the Southern Coal Fields region as a potential elk restoration area.

The WVDNR welcomes written comments on the Draft West Virginia Elk Management Plan. These comments should be postmarked by Oct. 31, 2010, and mailed to the following address: Public Comments - Elk Management Plan, Attn: Supervisor of Game Management, WVDNR, P.O. Box 67, Elkins, WV 26241.

Individuals seeking additional information relating to the plan should contact a wildlife biologist at their local WVDNR District Office or at the Elkins Operation Center.