Wolf Management Group Meets to Provide Guidance
An advisory group of 20 diverse stakeholders has started a series of meetings to provide recommendations to the Department of Natural Resources for guiding principles for managing Michigan's wolves and wolf-related issues if the gray wolf is removed from the federal list of threatened and endangered species. The group, called the Michigan Wolf Management Roundtable, recently held its first meeting in Newberry.
"This is a great example of stakeholder groups working together in the best interest of Michigan's citizens and natural resources," said Bill Moritz, Wildlife Division chief, who met with the group last Saturday. "Many of these groups have divergent perspectives on wolf management, yet they have made a significant commitment to come together and discuss these issues to craft useful recommendations for the DNR."
The wolf population in Michigan has met all the delisting criteria identified in both federal and state recovery plans. The recovery has prompted the DNR to revise the state wolf management plan in anticipation of shifting management authority from the federal government to the state.
DNR Wildlife Division Endangered Species Coordinator Todd Hogrefe said the DNR believes the citizens of Michigan have a significant interest and stake in the future management of wolves and should have an opportunity to deliberate on issues concerning that management.
"We believe public input is critical to the DNR planning process. This roundtable is an important step in producing a plan that ensures the viability of the wolf population while taking into account the diverse values of Michigan's citizens," Hogrefe said.
The roundtable is planning to meet throughout the summer and fall and will provide a list of recommendations to the DNR by the end of the year. The recommendations will be included in a draft wolf management plan which is slated for public review in March 2007.