This is by far the most important thing going on with the wolves right now.

As you know, there were recently hearings in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming on revisions to the rule that governs how the reintroduced wolves are managed — “the 10j” rule. Once a protective rule, under the “leadership of Cheney/Kempthorne and anti-wolf interests the new proposal pretty much lets states kill off wolves by the scores, even by the hundreds if the wolves are affecting game herds in some way the state wildlife management agency doesn’t like (such as making it harder for unskilled hunters to find elk).

Outside of Cody, WY the recent public testimony panned the proposal and no doubt the Dept. of Interior’s soliciter told them their proposal violated the process required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). Therefore, USFWS is doing a quick environmental analysis (“EA”) on their new 10j rule, and you are invited to comment (not really, they have to let you; and you can be sure they aren’t doing this to hear what you say).

There is also a comment period on Wyoming’s wolf plan and a news release by Wyoming Game and Fish.

So with my unbiased introduction here are their news releases:

NEWS RELEASE

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE

Mountain-Prairie Region
134 Union Boulevard
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
07-56 September 11, 2007

For Immediate Release Ed Bangs 406-449-5225, x204

U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE ANALYZES EFFECTS OF PROPOSED REVISION TO THE 2005 SPECIAL RULE FOR THE WOLVES IN THE

NORTHERN ROCKY MOUNTAINS—PUBLIC COMMENTS

SOUGHT ON BOTH DOCUMENTS

Today the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published an environmental assessment to analyze the potential effects of proposed revisions to the (10j) special regulations governing the management of gray wolves introduced in the Central Idaho and Yellowstone areas of the northern Rocky Mountains. The proposed revisions to the 10(j), which were published in the Federal Register on July 6, 2007, allow states and tribes with approved wolf management plans more flexibility in managing nonessential experimental wolves. In addition to public comments requested on the EA at this time, the Service is reopening the public comment period on the proposed 10(j) special regulations.

The EA focuses on the geographic areas of the non-essential, experimental populations of the gray wolf located in Idaho, southern Montana and Wyoming. Other wolf population areas are not evaluated because the Endangered Species Act’s 10(j) special rule applies only to the central Idaho and Yellowstone non-essential experimental populations

All public comments for both the proposed 10(j) special rule and the EA must be received by the Service by October 11, 2007.

Comments on the draft EA (identified by RIN number 1018-AV39) may be submitted by any of the following methods:

Mail or hand-deliver comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601.
Electronic mail (e-mail) directly to the Service at EA-WolfRuleChange@fws.gov. Include “RIN number 1018-AV39” in the subject line of the message.
Comments on the proposal to revise the 10(j) special regulation (identified by RIN 1018-AV39) may be submitted by any of the following methods:

1. Mail or hand deliver written comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601.

Electronic mail (e-mail) directly to the Service at WolfRuleChange@fws.gov. Include “RIN number 1018-AV39” in the subject line of the message.
Both documents can be viewed at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/.

A copy of the draft EA may also be obtained by sending a request to: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Western Gray Wolf Recovery Coordinator, 585 Shepard Way, Helena, MT 59601.

Specifically, the proposed revisions to the special rule would:

(1) Modify the definition of “unacceptable impacts” to wild ungulate populations to mean:

Impact (which is determined by state or tribe) to a wild ungulate population or herd, with wolves as one of the major causes of the population or herd not meeting established state or tribal management goals. This definition expands the potential impacts for which wolf removal might be warranted beyond direct predation or those causing immediate population declines. As in the previous special rule, the state or tribal determination of unacceptable impacts and measures to be taken must be peer-reviewed and provided to the public for comment prior to a final decision by the Service.

(2) Allow private citizens in States or on Tribal lands with approved wolf management plans to take wolves that are in the act of attacking their stock animals or dogs. Stock animals are defined as a horse, mule, donkey or llama used to transport people or their possessions. Evidence must be provided of stock animals or dogs recently wounded, harassed or killed by wolves and those injuries confirmed by Service- designated agents.

These modifications would only apply to States or on Tribal lands that have approved wolf management plans and would not impact wolves in National Parks or outside the Yellowstone or central Idaho nonessential experimental population areas.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

– FWS –

######

And then there’s this… Wyoming doesn’t seem to think that the folks who live nearest the majority of wolves in the state are stakeholders in this. Just look at where the meetings are, and once again, no public verbal input allowed. Folks in Jackson don’t get their hearing. They are the wrong kind of people. The USFWS said “go to Pinedale,” when a person from the Jackson Hole Alliance complained.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

5400 Bishop Blvd
Cheyenne, WY 82006
Contact: Eric Keszler (307-777-4594)

Wyoming’s Revised Wolf Management Plan Open for Public Comment

Casper, September 7—The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission today authorized a 30-day public comment period on the state’s draft revised gray wolf management plan. The revised plan will be posted on the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s website on Monday, September 10. The comment period will end on October 10.

The commission also authorized the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to conduct four public meetings the week of September 17 in Pinedale, Lander, Casper, and Cody. At each of the meetings, department personnel will discuss the draft revised plan and accept written comments. The meeting schedule is as follows:

Pinedale: September 17–Public Library Meeting Room

Lander: September 18–Lander Community Center

Casper: September 19–Casper WGFD Office, Pronghorn Room

Cody: September 20–Holiday Inn

Each meeting will be from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Those interested in commenting on the draft revised plan must do so either in writing or electronically through the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s electronic commenting system at the department’s website (http://gf.state.wy.us/) between September 10 and October 10. The department will not be accepting verbal comments or e-mail comments. Written comments can be submitted at the public meetings or mailed to:

Wolf Comments

Wyoming Game and Fish Department

5400 Bishop Blvd.

Cheyenne, WY 82006

The Wyoming Game and Fish Commission will review the public comments prior to its next meeting, November 15-16 in Thermopolis. At that meeting, the Commission will adopt a final revised Wyoming Gray Wolf Management Plan.

The latest draft of Wyoming’s wolf plan includes several changes submitted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. According to Wyoming Game and Fish Department Director Terry Cleveland, the latest draft of Wyoming’s wolf plan, if approved by the Wyoming Game and Fish Commission, will likely be accepted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service and lead to removal of wolves from the Endangered Species List in the Northern Rocky Mountains.

After delisting, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department will assume management of wolves in that portion of the state where wolves will be classified as trophy game animals. In the remaining portions of the state, gray wolves will be classified as predatory animals. Wyoming’s original wolf plan was rejected by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 2004.

The new draft plan is consistent with the requirements of House Bill 0213, passed by the 2007 Wyoming Legislature. The department believes the plan is also consistent with US Fish and Wildlife Service requirements for acceptance of the plan.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that 15 breeding pairs of wolves will ensure Wyoming’s share of a fully recovered population. Wyoming’s draft plan commits the Wyoming Game and Fish Department to maintaining at least seven breeding pairs of wolves located in the state and primarily outside of Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway. The remaining breeding pairs will be located primarily within Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks and John D. Rockefeller Memorial Parkway.

 
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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides, and he is President of the Western Watersheds Project.

5 Responses to Fish and Wildlife Service has comment period open on EA for 10j rule

  1. avatar Sean Wall says:

    Is there some consortium of people who are prompting this effect? I know that ranchers in New Mexico are complaining about red wolf reintroduction, I’m guessing that’s the case here too? I mean, why are people making such a big deal about the loss of hunting opportunities? my e-mail is E-mail, I’d love to hear your response.

  2. avatar Jean Ossorio says:

    Sean, just a little clarification about our New Mexico wolves:

    The reintroduced wolves in New Mexico are Mexican wolves or lobos. They are a subspecies of the gray wolf–Canis lupus baileyi. The red wolf, which has been reintroduced into North Carolina, is a separate species–Canis rufus. It was native to the southeastern portion of the U. S.

    C. l. baileyi is the southernmost, the smallest, and the rarest subspecies of gray wolf. Rescued from near extinction through a captive breeding program stemming from only seven founders (That’s how close the lobo came to extinction!), there are now approximately 300 Mexican wolves in captive breeding facilities in the U. S. and Mexico. At the end of 2006 there were 59 known Mexican wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico.

    For more information about the lobo, you can consult the web site of the Arizona Game and Fish Department at
    http://www.gf.state.az.us/w_c/es/wolf_reintroduction.shtml
    This site contains a wealth of information about Mexican wolves, including a monthly location map, weekly flight location data, and some nice photos.

  3. avatar steve c says:

    Is it even worth sending comments? Are their minds already made up? Seems like all I do lately are send comments about one issue or another and things never seem to go as I want them to…

  4. To be honest, they have their minds made up; or at least, USFWS was told what their mind was.

    I see hardly anyone showed up at the hearings in Wyoming.

    There will be no change in this, or anything for the good, until Bush is out of office.

    No doubt a coalition of groups will head to court when they have completed their process.

  5. avatar skyrim says:

    And that Ralph is really our only hope left. The court system as a whole stinks, but sometimes the delays created by the monster, may work in the best interest.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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