Washington State wolf plan working group is selected

In anticipation that wolves from Idaho and/or British Columbia will disperse to Washington state, “Eighteen citizens have been selected as members of a working group to guide the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in developing a plan for conservation and management of gray wolves that are expected to make their way to” the state.

Here is the news release. I should note with pride that Kim Holt, the Wolf Recovery Foundation’s secretary/treasurer is one of the 18 folks selected.

Here is the entire news release.

The working group members are:
§ Daryl Asmussen of Tonasket, cattle rancher
§ John Blankenship of Tenino, Wolf Haven International executive director
§ Duane Cocking of Newman Lake, sportsman
§ Jeff Dawson of Colville, cattle rancher
§ Paula J. DelGiudice of Seattle, sportswoman, National Wildlife Federation Western Natural Resource Center director
§ Gerry Ring Erickson of Shelton, former Defenders of Wildlife Washington state field representative
§ Jack Field of Ellensburg, Washington Cattlemen’s Association executive vice-president
§ George Halekas of Deer Park, retired Forest Service biologist
§ Kim Holt of Snohomish, Wolf Recovery Foundation secretary-treasurer
§ Derrick Knowles of Spokane, Conservation Northwest outreach coordinator
§ Colleen McShane of Seattle, consulting ecologist
§ Ken Oliver of Newport, Pend Oreille County Commissioner
§ Tommy Petrie, Jr. of Newport, Pend Oreille County Sportsmen’s Club president
§ John Stuhlmiller of Lacey, Washington Farm Bureau assistant director of government relations
§ Arthur Swannack of Lamont, Washington Sheep Producers president
§ Bob Tuck of Selah, consulting biologist, former Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioner
§ Greta M. Wiegand of Seattle, retiree, outdoor recreationist
§ Georg Ziegltrum of Olympia, Washington Forest Protection Association wildlife biologist

“This is a diverse group of people representing a wide range of interests that could be affected by future resident wolf populations in Washington,” said Jeff Koenings, PhD., director of WDFW. “We selected individuals who have a track record of building consensus.”

A total of 56 people submitted applications or were nominated for the working group.

Although gray wolves were largely eradicated in Washington by the 1930s, sightings have increased since federal wolf-recovery efforts began in Idaho and Montana in the mid-1990s. The success of those efforts has prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose removing gray wolf populations from the federal list of endangered species in three states and parts of four other states, including Washington.

“If gray wolves are removed from federal species protection status, Washington and other western states will have primary responsibility for managing their wolf populations,” Koenings said. “We need to prepare for that possibility by developing a conservation and management plan that works for people and wildlife.”

The gray wolf is also designated as a state endangered species in Washington, so the plan must identify population objectives and appropriate conservation and management strategies, as well as addressing wolf management in Washington after the species is removed from the federal list of endangered species.

The working group will convene next month and will meet approximately every other month over the coming year. A draft plan is scheduled for completion by Dec. 30, and will be followed by a public review period. The final plan is expected by June 30, 2008.

A separate technical advisory group of biologists from state and federal agencies also will be formed to provide information and expertise to the citizen working group.



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  1. Jean Avatar

    I will be thrilled if more wolves move to Washington. I have been waiting for many years to go some where close to me. I hope they will come up with a plan that benifits the wolf and people who enjoy watching and listening to them.
    Thank you

  2. John Bigley Avatar
    John Bigley

    This is for Jean, That would be great for the woodland caribou thats on the endangered list and lives in the Salmo Priest Wilderness area, Lets plant the wolves there and eat the caribou thats tring to live there,Or plant them in the North Cascades National Park,Or in the Pasayten Wilderness area. Do you know how many vast miles the wolves need to live in??? Thats why the put the wolves where they did,Lots of room.. These Wilderness areas are to small to handle a number of pack’s.

  3. Denise Avatar

    I live in the foothills of the cascades of Northbend Washington and was wondering if we have a wolf pack in our area as I saw 3 white and greay traveling together at dusk 6pm in our area. I am familiar with coyotees and these were larger and not as mangy looking. but walk/run like wild animals.

  4. JB Avatar

    John Bigley:

    No one is arguing that wolves should be “planted” in Washington state; only that they be allowed to recover via dispersal from existing populations. Their success would depend on adequate prey base and the minimization of anthropogenic mortality (i.e. illegal killing, vehicle mortality). Studies suggest that Washington and Oregon have plenty of wolf habitat, so long as humans are willing to tolerate their presence.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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